Sheffield United: It’s all in the mind, as boss Clough checks out targets

United midfielder Stephen McGinn

United midfielder Stephen McGinn

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Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough has revealed that both attitude and aptitude will have a huge bearing on his business in the January sales.

The United manager, appointed as David Weir’s permanent successor earlier in the season, has refused to rule out the possibility of revisiting his former club, Derby County, when the transfer window opens on January 1.

Johnny Russell, a 23-year-old centre forward, is one possible target and Clough said: “The biggest thing for me is always a player’s character.

“That’s something I like to find out a lot about.

But we always endeavour to watch every single player we sign and if all of us, as a staff, give them a ‘tick’, then the answer is usually a ‘yes’.”

Clough’s charges hauled their way out of League One’s relegation zone at the weekend, with a 1-0 win over Swindon.

United have picked up 11 points from Clough’s seven league games in charge - compared to just nine from their first 13 - and the former England international added: “It’s going to be slow, gradual progress, but two defeats in eleven games is good going.

“If we can do that for the next ten or eleven games, then we’ll be halfway up the league.

“But situations like beating Swindon, seeing victory through, breeds confidence and tests our resolve.

“We can gather a lot of belief from situations like that, against the likes of Swindon and Leyton Orient.

“It’s largely about getting the confidence back and three points at home can only help - now, it’s about keeping it going.”

Clough hopes to have Stephen McGinn, who missed the Swindon game with a sore hamstring, available for Saturday’s trip to relegation rivals Stevenage.

Aidy White, who was substituted against Mark Cooper’s Town with a tight hamstring, should also recover in time to travel to The Lamex Stadium.

Clough, meanwhile, has praised United’s FA Youth Cup squad for reaching the fourth round of the competition.

Travis Binnion’s side overcame Bolton Wanderers 4-3 on penalties during last week’s match at the Reebok Stadium and Clough said: “It was a travesty the game even went that far.

“The lads were absolutely superb.”

In the fourth round the Blades youngsters will be away to either Bradford City or Millwall who play tonight.