Sheffield United: Neill backs summers signings

Neill Collins scores Sheffield United's second goal against Fenerbahce � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Neill Collins scores Sheffield United's second goal against Fenerbahce � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Neill Collins has endorsed Sheffield United’s movements this summer in the transfer market.

United, who The Star understands are in advanced talks with NEC Nijmegen centre-forward Michael Higdon about a move to South Yorkshire, have signed the likes of Andy Butler, James Wallace and Chris Basham during a close-season recruitment drive which has also seen Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Craig Alcock and Ben Davies arrive at Bramall Lane.

And Collins, the former Scotland under-21 centre-half, revealed how manager Nigel Clough’s recruitment policy has created a renewed sense of purpose among long-serving members of the League One club’s squad.

He said: “All of the lads he’s brought in are quality performers who bring something real to the table and that’s given the rest of us here real confidence.

“Sometimes, as a footballer, you look at the players who are coming to your club and you’re not sure about them. But that’s not the case here because we’ve either come up against them in the past and know how tough they are or they’ve got the same reputation within the game.”

According to sources in Holland, where Higdon has played since leaving Motherwell last summer, Clough has identified the 30-year-old as a potential target after placing a proven striker at the top of his wanted list.

Derby’s Mason Bennett could still move to United on loan but only if Clough can resurrect an agreement to capture his teammate, Kieron Freeman.

Collins, who scored the winning goal during Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Fenerbahce, also predicted that youngsters Harrison McGahey and his compatriot Marc McNulty will prove valuable acquisitions.

Both McGahey, previously of Blackpool, and McNulty, signed from Livingston, are scheduled to feature during today’s friendly at York City (kick-off 1pm).

“Harrison is a powerful lad and Marc has been doing the business for a while up in Scotland now,” Collins said. “For him to do that, on a consistent basis, means you know he’s got the mental and physical strength to cope.”

Contrary to reports, United have not made an approach for Connor Sammon, also of County, after resolving to add some physical strength to their frontline.