To hell and back - Monty

Tough period: Midfielder Nick Montgomery says it has been hard on and off the pitch at United.'               Picture: Steve parkin
Tough period: Midfielder Nick Montgomery says it has been hard on and off the pitch at United.' Picture: Steve parkin

NICK Montgomery has spoken for the first time about his personal “nightmare”.

The industrious midfielder has struggled to command a regular first-team spot at Sheffield United during the 2011/12 campaign and decided to join Millwall on loan earlier this week.

Injuries have restricted Montgomery’s opportunities to shine and the Blades’ longest-serving player also concedes personal problems off the pitch have hampered his form.

He told The Star: “I’ve had a difficult couple of months at United. I’ve had problems with my family and broke my ribs.”

Both Montgomery’s twin daughters, born prematurely, and his wife received treatment earlier in the season for viral meningitis.

“I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital around Christmas time,” he said. “My daughters and my wife all fell down with viral meningitis for a couple of weeks.

“It was difficult. It was a hard time and it coincided with me breaking my ribs so it was a bit of a nightmare.

“The kids are fine now. They seem to be doing well and I’m looking forward to the end of the season and spending some time with them.”

Montgomery, United’s captain and longest-serving player, is set to stay with the Lions until the end of April.

He made his debut for the London outfit in their 3-0 victory at Doncaster Rovers, coming on as a late replacement for Josh Wright.

The 30-year-old, who has chalked up almost 400 appearances since making his United debut in 2000, met his new teammates in the hotel on the day of the Rovers clash.

Montgomery, an influential figure in the team which gained promotion to the top flight nearly six years ago, said: “There are reasons behind why I have not been playing. The lads have done really well this season.

“I had a good chat with Danny Wilson and when the opportunity came up to go to Millwall, I thought why not and see how it goes. I knew about Millwall’s interest a while back. I’ve just been sat on the bench at United and I thought when this came up I would give it a go.

“I am back in the Championship now which is where I want to be.

“I could have just sat on the bench at United but I have always been up for a challenge. I spoke to Kenny Jackett [Millwall boss] and he said he would like me to come down and help them in their dog fight.”

Montgomery is scheduled to rejoin Wilson’s squad ahead of their final match of the season at Exeter City on May 5.

“I am still on great terms with United,” he insisted. “I didn’t have to go anywhere but I wanted a fresh challenge and I thought after 14 years at one club it might be a good idea to go round the other side of the country!

“I am not really looking at the future. I get on really well with Danny and the staff but I have been sat on the bench since I came back from a rib injury and the lads have been doing well. It is part and parcel of football and it is probably the first time since I have been there [United] that I have not been playing regularly and sometimes you just need a bit of a change.”

Millwall lock horns with Leeds United this weekend and Montgomery is looking forward to seeing ex-Blades chief Neil Warnock.

“Neil gave me my debut at United and I played for him for seven years,” he said. “His man-management is different class and I’m sure they will have a great chance of getting into the play-offs but it would be nice to put one over on them on Saturday.”