Sheffield United goalkeeper George Long last night revealed Nigel Clough wasted no time imposing his authority on the League One club’s squad, writes James Shield.
Clough, who was appointed as David Weir’s permanent successor on Wednesday, takes charge of his first match since arriving at Bramall Lane against Crewe Alexandra later this afternoon.
Long told The Star: “He got us all together before our first training session and explained what he expected of us. He also said what we could expect from him and his staff in return.
“The work was short, sharp but really focused and intense. Really energetic but very football based.
“The short games we played were pretty full on. Everyone enjoyed them.”
United enter the meeting with Steve Davis’ side 21st in the table but having taken four points from their previous two games.
The visitors are 18th but were heavily criticised by their manager after losing to Stevenage in midweek.
Long, an England under-21 international, added: “We feel as if we’ve got our confidence back now after a run of bad results.
“That means everyone is going out there and playing with more freedom. We’re expressing ourselves more because we’re letting our game take care of itself.
“We’ve got a little bit of momentum and we want that to carry on building.”
Crewe could welcome back Brad Inman and Ollie Turton for the trip to South Yorkshire but Harry Davis is expected to miss-out as he continues to recover from a knee problem.
Davis, who was last night poised to sign a young outfield player on loan to bolster his injury hit squad, said: “Nigel Clough has only been there a few days, so won’t have had chance to do too much with them but him being there will give them a lift.
“It should mean there will be a bigger crowd there and it will be important that we play the game and not the occasion. We will have to concentrate on what we want to do and not on what is going on around us.
“All the pressure is on them because they are playing in front of their fans so we have to try and use that to our advantage if we can and make it count.”