Sheffield United: Blades close in on new recruits

Nigel Clough, right, is eager to revamp his United squad.
Nigel Clough, right, is eager to revamp his United squad.

Sheffield United’s negotiations with Livingston midfielder Stefan Scougall had last night reached an advanced stage, The Star can reveal.

And Nigel Clough, speaking after Saturday’s derby against Bradford City, acknowledged he hopes to bolster his squad by completing “a couple of loan signings” before Fulham visit Bramall Lane in the fourth round of the FA Cup this weekend.

Clough confirmed an offer, potentially worth up to £400,000, has been submitted for Scougall after Saturday’s draw with Phil Parkinson’s side saw his team remain 19th in the League One table.

Although Wolverhampton Wanderers and Peterborough are also monitoring the Scotland under-21 international, United believe their valuation, combined with Livington’s decision to ommit Scougall from the squad beaten by Greenock Morton 48 hours ago, means they are now in pole position.

Clough, the United manager, said: “We were very close to doing a couple of things (before Bradford) so hopefully we’ll get those concluded this week. One was involved for his team and the other we just couldn’t get done in time but they should be available for the cup tie.”

Clough, who is also understood to be targeting reinforcements in defence and attack, added: “We’ve made an enquiry for Stefan but we’re looking at a permanent deal there. We’ll see what happens.”

United, who allowed Febian Brandy and Florent Cuvelier to join Walsall and Port Vale respectively on loan last week, handed Billy Paynter his full debut during a match which saw them race into a two goal lead before being forced to settle for a point. Cuvelier sustained a knee injury attempting to execute a volley against Oldham Athletic but Micky Adams, the Vale manager, predicted “hopefully it’s not too serious” afterwards.

“Febian and Flo wanted to go out and play some football which is fine,” Clough said. “We won’t be letting anyone else out at the moment though and we’re happy with what we’ve got.”

Meanwhile, Harry Maguire has vowed to spearhead United’s charge for survival by scoring at least 10 goals this term. The centre-half made the pledge after claiming his sixth of the campaign against City.

Revealing he started his career as a striker before graduating from the Redtooth Academy, Maguire said: “Ideally, I’d like to get into double figures. It doesn’t matter who scores because they all count and everyone wants to chip in.

“My dad was on at me before hand because I hadn’t got one for about 10 or 11 games so I thought it was about time. I can have a go at him now.”

United travel to Millwall in the FA Youth Cup this evening. (kick-off 7pm).