Nigel Clough, who last night confirmed Chesterfield midfielder Jimmy Ryan features on Sheffield United’s list of potential targets, has given Andy Butler the green light to leave Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.

Chesterfield's Jimmy Ryan counts Nigel Clough among his footballing admirers
Chesterfield's Jimmy Ryan counts Nigel Clough among his footballing admirers

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Butler, who has made only one appearance for United since arriving on a free transfer from Walsall earlier this year, is expected to sign a permanent contract with League One rivals Doncaster Rovers after joining his home town club on loan.

Clough, who will use any monies recouped from the deal to help strengthen other areas of his team, told The Star: “Everything is just about sorted out with Andy. We’ve been talking and, although I’m not handling those discussions, I fully expect him to stay there.

“We’ve always received backing to try and improve. We have limited resources, like almost everybody in football these days, to enter the market next month so that’s what we’re hoping to do.”

Clough, who will decide whether to extend fellow centre-half Paddy McCarthy’s temporary agreement following Sunday’s visit of Scunthorpe, added: “There’s been no fall out with Andy whatsoever. Sometimes these things just don’t work out and, out of the 10 or so people we have brought in, to have one like that is, in my book, pretty good going.

“Initially we brought Andy in to support Neill Collins and Harry Maguire. Harry isn’t with us anymore, Neill isn’t in the team and Jay McEveley and Chris Basham have done brilliantly there for us so we just feel we’ve got better options.

“But there’s no hard feelings and we’d hope to see Andy before he goes.”

Although Clough’s comments about United’s interest in Ryan were deliberately opaque, he did acknowledge that the former Republic of Ireland under-21 midfielder has been monitored in recent weeks. Ryan, aged 26, has yet to agree fresh terms with Chesterfield despite opening preliminary talks with officials at the Proact Stadium.

“Jimmy is on a list, a very long list, of people that we’ve looked at,” Clough said. “So it would be wrong to say ‘it’s him’ because we’re always assessing who is out there.

“The problem is, because we’ve already got very good youngsters here like Louis Reed and now Flo Cuvelier, is finding someone who is better, not as good, as what we’ve already got.

“And that’s not easy at all because they’re quality players.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1

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