Sheffield United striker Richard Cresswell has been outlined as the One to Watch by Vital QPR.
Name: Richard Cresswell
Date of Birth: 20-09-1977 (Bridlington)
Former Clubs: York City, Mansfield Town (L), Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester City, Preston North End (L), Preston North End, Leeds United, Stoke City, Sheffield United (L).
Appearances (Goals): 448 (94)
The Blades front-man has found form against Rangers this season scoring in each of the two sides last meetings.
Coming through the ranks at Scarborough, Cresswell moved and quickly found a home at York City. With the Minstermen he took time to prosper – making his debut in January 1996.
After 21 fruitless games for the then Division Two side, he dropped down a tier to play for Mansfield Town on loan – it was here that he grabbed his first senior goal away at Rochdale.
The strike came on the hour mark and it was enough to sink Dale at Spotland, it proved to be a goal that helped spark his progress at Bootham Crescent as his form picked up the following season.
Goals against Luton Town, Bristol Rovers, Blackpool and Wrexham added to his reputation as a flourishing forward, but what was to come surprised even the most ardent York supporter.
Cresswell hit top form in Division Two – netting 19 times for the Minstermen in what was a difficult season at the wrong end of the table.
York were relegated from the Second Division, but it mattered little for Cresswell who picked up a big money move to Premier League Sheffield United for £950,000.
Wednesday didn’t have to wait long to see Cresswell hit the back of the net, scoring at Hillsborough against Liverpool to secure a win by the odd goal.
It became apparent in 1999-00 that Wednesday were struggling in the top flight and two goals from the striker Cresswell did little to alleviate the fears – they were eventually relegated as second bottom.
After starting the new campaign in Division One with Wednesday it became apparent that many were in the chase for his signature, and it was Leicester City that managed to capture their target.
The move cost them a cut price £750,000 – and he made his debut as the Foxes crashed out of the Uefa Cup against Red Star Belgrade.
His only Leicester goal of the current spell came against former club York City in the FA Cup. Cresswell replaced Ade Akinbiyi at half time to put his former club to the sword with a third goal.
He was loaned out to promotion chasing Preston North End in Division One and goals against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Barnsley helped fire the Lilywhites into the playoff places.
He played a part in both semi-final legs against Birmingham City before featuring in an unsuccessful final against Bolton Wanderers at the Millennium Stadium – losing 3-0.
Impressing sufficiently in the season run in, Preston snapped up Cresswell for £500,000 in the close season. Despite taking a while to get going he finished with 15 goals as Preston narrowly missed out on a playoff place in 2002.
A better return followed for Cresswell in 2002-03 where he bagged 15 goals for the Lilywhites – unfortunately for him Preston couldn’t produce the consistent form required to challenge for the playoffs.
Preston’s playoff ambitions continued to suffer the following season, and this wasn’t helped by a mere three goals from striker Cresswell who was also given the first red card of his career in the defeat against Coventry City (4-1).
That was to be a mere dip in his heroics as Cresswell proved once against to be one of the Championship’s most potent strikers in 2004-05.
Cresswell struck 21 times for the Lilywhites including a hatrick away at former club Leicester City. He also put away a hotly contested penalty agianst QPR at Deepdale.
Just minutes after David Healy had missed a spot-kick, Gino Padula was adjudged to have handled the ball once again – replays clearly showed that the ball was chested as Rangers lost out (2-1).
Preston once again reached the playoffs, defeating Derby County at the semi-final stage before losing out to West Ham United and Bobby Zamora at the Millennium Stadium.
After playing a handful of early games for Preston, Cresswell was bound to a new club – Championship rivals Leeds United for a fee of £1,150,000.
Seven goals for the Whites, including a strike against QPR at Elland Road, saw Leeds United through to the playoffs and despite getting past former club Preston there was a sting in the tail.
A glut of former Preston players including Sean Gregan, Eddie Lewis and Cresswell oversaw a 2-0 win at Deepdale to secure their passage to the final – only for Cresswell to be foolishly sent off in the final minute – meaning he missed the final.
Leeds went on to be soundly beaten by the Divison’s surprise package, Watford – Aidy Boothroyd’s men hammering home the doom and gloom in a 3-0 win.
Very few predicted what was to come as Cresswell’s Leeds plummeted to the foot of the table in the 2006-07 season, and they failed to recover sufficiently, eventually finishing rock-bottom after a points deduction.
The striker didn’t hang around and signed for Championship club Stoke City – he scored 12 goals for Tony Pulis’ men to help the Potters gain promotion to the top flight – despite being deployed primarily down the right flank.
Chances were at a minimum in the top flight with Cresswell once again charged with foraying down the right flank. He scored once goal for the Potters in the League Cup, but was booed for his indifferent displays when played out of position.
After playing three times for the Potters earlier this season, Cresswell was loaned out to Sheffield United, and this has coincided with their return to form and push towards the higher echelons of the Championship.
A goal in a draw against Doncaster Rovers has been met with a double over Queens Park Rangers in both League and Cup.
He will be looking to continue his form against Rangers this evening as the Blades travel to Loftus Road.
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