Sheffield United have been dealt an apparent blow in their pursuit of John Brayford, after Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed that the right-back will be given the chance to prove himself at the Welsh club.
United, who yesterday cancelled Febian Brandy’s contract by mutual consent, had hoped to pursuade the 26-year-old to return to South Yorkshire after a highly-successful loan spell at Bramall Lane last term.
But Brayford’s form - which helped Nigel Clough’s side finish seventh in League One, and reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup - has persuaded Bluebirds boss Solskjaer to take a second look at him when pre-season training starts next week.
Following City’s relegation last term, sources in Wales suggest that Solskjaer is prepared to give every member of his huge squad - including Brayford and striker Nicky Maynard - the chance to impress.
“They [Brayford and Maynard] have shown they are quality players,” Solskjaer said.
“They went out to play regular first-team football and did well.
“John showed his ability while playing for Sheffield United, while I know all about Nicky.
“John, Nicky and the other lads out on loan are part of our football club. We kept a regular check on how they are doing and they will be back with us for pre-season.”
Brayford, who played under Clough at Burton Albion and Derby County, made a £1.5 million move to the Welsh capital last year following City’s promotion to the Premier League but has yet to make a league appearance for his parent club.
A hugely popular member of Clough’s squad, Brayford made 20 appearances in United colours and scored twice, including the second goal against Charlton to send them to their FA Cup semi-final against Hull City at Wembley.
Meanwhile, United are close to breaking the 10,000 barrier in season-ticket sales, managing director Mal Brannigan has revealed.
“We are delighted with the figures,” Brannigan said,
“We think the figures reflect the optimism for the next campaign.”