Chris O’Grady issues plea for Brighton to extend his loan spell at Sheffield United

Chris O'Grady celebrates his first goal for Sheffield United
Chris O'Grady celebrates his first goal for Sheffield United

Chris O’Grady has urged Brighton and Hove Albion to extend his loan at Bramall Lane.

The centre-forward, whose agreement with Sheffield United is scheduled to expire next month, confirmed he wants to stay put until the end of the season after scoring his first goal for Nigel Clough’s side.

O’Grady was recently ordered by Sami Hyypia, Clough’s counterpart in Sussex, to make his intentions clear about returning to The AMEX Stadium. And, following Saturday’s draw with Walsall, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley striker obliged by revealing he feels “wanted” in South Yorkshire.

“I would definitely be interested in staying,” O’Grady told The Star. “I just want to enjoy my football and that’s what I am doing right now.

“To just feel wanted, be regarded, is important to me and that’s when I play my best stuff. I feel like that here. Everything is down to Brighton really. They’ll decide, I suppose, what is going to happen next.

“But if they agreed and came to ask my opinion, if it rested on that, then my answer would definitely be ‘yes.’ It would be good, for all the reasons I’ve just outlined, to stay.”

O’Grady, who has also represented Rotherham and Bradford City since progressing through Leicester City’s ranks 11 years ago, celebrated his third United appearance by handing them a 56th minute lead against Dean Smith’s team before Tom Bradshaw’s equalier extended their winless run in the competition to five games.

“It was good to score but we conceded one so it was bittersweet,” O’Grady said. “Hopefully, I can now build on that.

“It’s nice to score, but the real weight off my shoulder will be when we get our first win. That’s more important than me scoring goals, it’s about being part of a winning team.

“The league games are going to lead us where we want to be, where we need to be, so we are definitely focused on them.

“We are picking up a lot of draws, not being defeated, which is good. It’s going to be a case of learning from this, and when the time is right, turn these draws into wins later in the season.”

“At all the Yorkshire clubs I have been at, I know what Yorkshire fans want from their teams and that’s what I tend to do,” O’Grady added. “Because, at the end of the day, that’s what we are doing.

“Playing for them.”

Clough, who has failed in an attempt to sign John Brayford from Cardiff City after an injury to Ryan Flynn exasperated United’s problems at full-back, expressed fears Hypia’s perilous situation on the south coast could persuade Albion to recall O’Grady when questioned on the subject earlier this month.

“That’s the plan in principle, to keep Chris for the rest of the season,” he reitterated. “That’s why I was delighted to see Brighton to get a point at Wolves because that might help. If they get injuries, they might call him back.

“Chris has now had 90 minutes on consecutive Saturdays and will need another three or four games to really get up to speed. But I think we have seen enough of him to suggest he is going to be a problem at this level.

“He scored a good goal. It was a great pass and a brilliant finish.”