Sheffield United: Nigel lays down the law

Nigel Clough has changed his mind about Jamie Murphy � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Nigel Clough has changed his mind about Jamie Murphy � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Nigel Clough has warned reputations count for nothing in the battle for first team places at Bramall Lane after admitting Sheffield United must fight their way towards League One survival, writes James Shield.

Clough made the admission after outlining his reasons for allowing Febian Brandy, the club’s headline summer signing, to rejoin Walsall on loan.

Insisting Brandy can resurrect his career in South Yorkshire - “We’ll review his future in the summer” - the United manager said: “It’s always in the player’s court, just look at Jamie Murphy and Jose Baxter because they’ve forced themselves in.

“We’ve let Febian go to play some football. He’s not featured much since being sent-off (against Shrewsbury Town) and there’s no point in him sitting around getting five minutes here and there.

“Plus, it creates the space for someone else to come in.”

United enter Saturday’s visit of Bradford City 19th in the table and Clough, who could hand Billy Paynter his full debut against Phil Parkinson’s side, confirmed he is pursuing “one or two” leads in the transfer market. Another centre-forward is known to be his immediate priority although reinforcements are also being assessed in defence and midfield.

“We are in a battle,” Clough said. “We’ve got enough flair, I think, with Jamie, Jose and even Stephen McGinn out there.

“Billy is a big lad and he can knock people about a bit. We need some of that too.”

“The core of 13 or 14 players we’re using are the ones who got us out of the bottom four,” Clough added. “They achieved that and so are entitled to be in there now.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1