Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has labelled Mark Howard and Roy Carroll as “the best goalkeepers in League One” ahead of tonight’s meeting with Notts County, writes James Shield.
The match, which brings together the division’s fifth and sixth placed sides, could mark Chris O’Grady’s debut for United after arriving on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion yesterday.
But, despite expressing his delight at capturing the former Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward, Clough acknowledged Carroll’s presence makes the visitors an awkward proposition.
“We’re fortunate to have Mark and Roy has been exceptional for them as well,” Clough told The Star. “In fact, I don’t see anyone better in their position at our level this season.
“County are just behind us in the table and Roy has been a massive factor in that. People often overlook the importance of what goes on at the back but not us.”
“Defensively, a few blips apart, we’ve been very solid,” Clough added. “Mark has been a huge influence on that and he’s shown his ability and worth.
“I wouldn’t pick anyone else above those two at the moment.”
Clough, who represented Nottingham Forest as a player before entering the world of coaching, also paid tribute to his counterpart Shaun Derry’s achievements since taking charge at Meadow Lane.
“You always knew that he’d become a good manager,” Clough said. “And what County have done lately, after Shaun kept them up last season, is testament to that.”