Gary Madine can get Sheffield United promoted, according to Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock.
Madine has joined the Blades on a six-month loan deal just a year after Cardiff signed the striker from Bolton Wanderers.
In his 19 appearances since that move the 28-year-old has failed to score a single goal. Yet Warnock says there is much more to Madine’s game than finding the back of the net.
“He is ideal for the Championship. For me, we would not have been promoted without him last season,” the Bluebirds boss told The Yorkshire Post.
“He won us six or seven points just by how he played up front. One game at Millwall stands out as he took a real battering, but kept going and helped us get a big point. We definitely would not have got that draw without him.
“There were a few games like that and, in the end, they all added up. Those six or seven points proved the difference in us winning automatic promotion or having to settle for the play-offs.
“He can do the same for Sheffield United, who are in a great position in the Championship.”
How important is Madine to United?
Chris Wilder had made no secret of the fact that he wanted to sign a new striker in January. With Wilder operating with at least two – and sometimes three – forwards on the pitch at the same time, support was needed.
That is despite the fact that captain Billy Sharp has been in great form this season and already has 16 Championship goals. David McGoldrick has also scored three times in his last three games.
However, Conor Washington has failed to find the back of the net since his summer move from QPR. Meanwhile, Leon Clarke has been playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks.
It means that despite now having five strikers in their squad, Warnock could well be right and Madine may well prove crucial to a Blades promotion push.