For the vast majority of the near 20,000 crowd, Tuesday’s match at Bramall Lane made uncomfortable viewing.
But, as he watched his new Sheffield United team mates pepper Fleetwood Town’s box with crosses, James Hanson found himself growing increasingly excited about what the future holds.
Unfortunately, with a logistical issue forcing Hanson to sit-out the game, what should have been a stream of potential assists instead went aimlessly to waste. Although a lack of punch up front was not the main reason for their defeat - the visitors, despite United’s calamitous defending and poor fortune, demonstrated better game management - Chris Wilder’s side did lack a physical presence in attack. A problem Hanson’s arrival from Bradford City is designed to solve.
“The manager hasn’t said a great deal yet,” the centre-forward said. “He’s told me how the team plays and how he wants me to play. I am really looking forward to it. As a striker, you want chances and when I saw those crosses come in it was a nice feeling. I am confident I can get to know the lads well enough in training to make the most of them.”
United, who return to action against AFC Wimbledon next month, remain on top of the League One table despite taking just a point from their last three outings. Together with fellow new signing Jay O’Shea, Hanson, aged 29, is expected to feature against Neil Ardley’s side after signing a two-and-a-half year contract at Bramall Lane.
“If you look at the dressing room, the manager has brought in a lot of players who are proven in this division and have played a lot of games in it,” Hanson, a member of the City squad which reached the play-offs last term, said. “That experience will be vital, as we have some massive games coming up.
“It will need all our experience to get those results and it helps that a lot in this team have played a lot in League One and higher. This is the business end of the season when we need results. It probably didn’t matter how well we played against Fleetwood, we just needed the win. But we have to move on and focus on Wimbledon.”