Sheffield United: Blades form kills off clear-out plans

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough

Nigel Clough has revealed performances between now and the end of the season will influence his recruitment plans.

But Clough, who The Star understands has elected to offer winger Ryan Flynn fresh terms when his contract expires, last night indicated United’s recent results have persuaded Bramall Lane’s hierarchy to shelve plans for a major overhaul of the League One club’s squad.

“We’ve got lots of decisions to make on players,” he said. “Fortunately not too many of the lads are set to become free agents which is a good thing for us.

“Likewise the fact that many of them, the ones who are, we have options on.”

“There are a number of incentives for us,” Clough, whose team face Hull City in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley next month, continued. “Not least the fact that we are trying to build something here and so nobody can afford to let standards drop. The boys have worked ever so hard lately, and we applaud them for that, but we can’t afford to let ours standards drop.”

United, who return to league action at Preston North End next week, won their 10th consecutive game in all competitions by beating Carlisle on Wednesday. night.

Goalkeeper Mark Howard, previously of Arsenal, St Mirren and Blackpool, is among those whose long-term futures in South Yorkshire are yet to be resolved but has impressed since regaining his starting place.

Ben Davies, on loan from Derby County, is available on a free transfer at the end of the season and, together with centre-forward Billy Paynter, could be invited to join United on a permanent basis.

“Whenever we bring someone in on loan, in most cases it’s always with a view to doing something,” Clough said. “There are one or two situations where you are forced to do something quickly but, in the majority of cases, there’s always half an eye on what might happen in the future.

“You wouldn’t bring someone here in the first place if you didn’t think they had something to offer.”