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League One

Nigel Clough to step up Sheffield United striker search

30 April 2014

Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough felt his side's 1-1 draw at Oldham Athletic highlighted their need for a new striker.

The Blades have struggled for goals all season and had to rely on Chris Porter's late equaliser to earn a point at Boundary Park despite their second-half dominance.

In-form Oldham went in front after 17 minutes when defender James Wilson scored his first league goal, steering home an eight-yard header from Connor Brown's cross.

Jonson Clarke-Harris could have doubled the lead before United's Stefan Scougall fired inches wide and Jose Baxter wasted a one-against-one, denied by a smart save from Latics keeper Paul Rachubka.

Blades defender Terry Kennedy headed against the bar and the equaliser came six minutes from time as Jamie Murphy's incisive run set up ex-Oldham striker Porter to score from close range.

Both sides had chances for victory but ended with their unbeaten runs intact - now seven games for United and nine for Oldham.

Clough said: "Our first half felt end-of-season and was neither here nor there, so I asked the players to step it up.

"After that it was constant pressure and we probably should have won but that's two away games in a week where we've come from behind to get something from the game.

"Having said that we got into some great areas around the box and we need to improve the quality and the final pass next season.

"Even when we've played well, you can still see that we need someone up there. We need someone up front to play with Stefan Scougall, who was the outstanding player on the pitch.

"Sometimes in these end-of-season games there's a lack of sprinting but Stefan sprinted until his lungs hurt.

"But there were a couple of times when our sloppiness at the back almost cost us the game, so that's something else to improve."

Oldham manager Lee Johnson paid tribute to his players after their unbeaten run guaranteed a mid-table finish in League One.

He said: "I've been flogging them to death but they have produced under pressure and at the time of year when we've needed them to perform.

"I feel we've improved as a team and showed it because the result could have gone either way.

"Sheffield United are a very good side with very good players and we know they will be a strong outfit next season.

"They had the lion's share of possession with their movement but we created chances and I'm really pleased with the boys' performance.

"Our characters are helping us to win points and I'm hoping this was a dress rehearsal for next season when we want to be higher up the table.

"We are lacking that bit of quality of times, which is probably the difference between us having 20 more points over the course of the season, but it was an excellent performance and a very good game."

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