Conor Coady has confirmed he “would love” to remain with Sheffield United until the end of the season, writes James Shield.
But the Liverpool midfielder, whose youth loan expires later this month, last night insisted that ensuring the South Yorkshire club’s League One survival must take precedence over negotiations aimed at extending his contract at Bramall Lane.
“Of course I’d love to stay,” Coady said. “Coming here has matured me as a player and I’m loving every second of it.
“We’ve not had any discussions yet but, to be honest, all of that can wait because there are other priorities at the moment.
“When the time is right we’ll see what happens. Until then, I’d rather concentrate on my football because we’ve got some massive games coming-up.”
Coady was referring to United’s double-header against the teams either side of them in the table which starts with this afternoon’s fixture at Crewe Alexandra. The visitors, ranked 21st following the postponement of Wednesday’s meeting with Peterborough, face Fulham in an FA Cup fourth round replay next week before returning to league action when 22nd placed Shrewsbury Town make the journey north on February 8.
With captain Michael Doyle ruled-out through suspension, Coady is vying with Stephen McGinn and new signing Stefan Scougall for two berths in manager Nigel Clough’s midfield.
“We know how big these matches could be,” Coady said. “We’ve been in good form and had some good results but now is the time for us to start stringing some wins together.
“Michael will be a miss for us in midfield but we’ve got some really good technical players and lads who can battle too. We like to play football but, in this division, it’s also important that you can adapt.”
Clough, who yesterday revealed Neill Collins will be handed the armband in Doyle’s absence, has lost only four times since celebrating his appointment with a 3-1 victory over Crewe four months ago.
Harry Maguire and Chris Porter both travelled with United to their base in Cheshire last night after recovering from injury but the latter could make way for Billy Paynter who is ineligible for selection at Craven Cottage. Diego De Girolamo, meanwhile, has remained at home as a precaution after taking what Clough described as “a whack to his toe” during a recent youth team fixture against Middlesbrough.
“We want to go there and be positive,” Coady said. “Start the game on the front foot and build from there.
“Crewe are actually quite a physical team although, when the chance arises, they do like to get the ball down and play.
“But we want to be the ones who dictate.”