Chris Porter believes Sheffield United would be celebrating promotion today had Nigel Clough been appointed manager at the start of the season, writes James Shield.
The former Derby County centre-forward, who last night became the latest player to insist he wants to remain in South Yorkshire when his contract expires this summer, told The Star that Clough’s seven month reign has transformed the mood both on and off the pitch at Bramall Lane.
“If the gaffer had been here right from the start then I think we’d be going up,” Porter said. “But that’s going to be the aim for next year now and hopefully I’m still going to be here.
“Probably the biggest different he (Clough) has made is bringing us closer together as a group. That’s something he did at Derby too and it’s great when you’ve got a group of lads who want to spend time with each other away from work.
“Basically, things are a lot more fun as well. Training is shorter, it doesn’t drag on and we don’t spend as much time waiting around in hotels and things like that.
“Everyone enjoys coming into work but, don’t get me wrong, there’s still a serious point to all of this and I think that shows in results.”
United were 21st in the table when Clough took charge after winning only two of their opening 15 games. They enter tomorrow’s final game of the 2013/14 campaign ranked eighth and having reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup three weeks ago.
Porter, who was loaned to Chesterfield by Clough’s predecessor David Weir, previously worked with the 48-year-old at County.
“Under Mr Weir, I think we were probably trying to overplay,” Porter added. “But this is League One, not the Premier League, and I don’t think we were ready for doing it at that moment in time.
“What the gaffer now does is keep things really simple but that makes us even more effective.”