Sheffield United: Duo face race against time

John Brayford (right) in action for Derby County
John Brayford (right) in action for Derby County
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Sheffield United face a race against time to ensure John Brayford and Stefan Scougall are eligible for selection when Fulham visit Bramall Lane in the FA Cup, writes James Shield.

Former Cardiff City defender Brayford and Scougall, previously of Livingston, last night agreed in principle to join Nigel Clough’s side following lengthy negotiations with their parent clubs.

But with the transfers subject to ratification by the Welsh and Scottish FA’s, they will be forced to miss Sunday’s fourth round tie unless the relevant paperwork is processed before today’s Noon deadline.

“We’ve got John and Stefan with us,” Clough said. “Things are ongoing so we’re hoping that everything can get sorted-out in time.”

Scougall, a Scotland under-21 international, was also being monitored by Wolverhampton Wanderers and Peterborough before United lodged an offer, potentially worth £400,000 for his services, earlier this month. Brayford, who commanded a £1.5m fee when he joined City during the close season, rejected Ipswich Town and AFC Bournemouth in order to resurrect his partnership with Clough having previously worked with the 47-year-old at County and Burton Albion.

However Middlesbrough centre-forward Luke Williams, who also interested United, yesterday joined Hartlepool on loan. The North-East neighbours boast strong ties given Colin Cooper’s presence at Victoria Park.

Clough is expected to press ahead with his search for attacking reinforcements despite securing the services of Doncaster Rovers striker Billy Paynter until the end of the campaign.

“We’ve got a few cup tied, Elliott Whitehouse, Callum McFadzean and Billy,” Clough said. “So there’ll be changes.”