Sheffield United: Clarke is one name on the radar

Billy Clarke (left) interests Sheffield United � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Billy Clarke (left) interests Sheffield United � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Billy Clarke, the Crawley Town centre-forward, does feature on Sheffield United’s list of possible targets ahead of tonight’s transfer deadline, The Star understands.

Sources at the Stadium confirmed this morning that Clarke, who enjoyed a spell on loan in South Yorkshire three years ago, is the subject of interest from Bramall Lane as United press ahead with their search for attacking reinforcements.

However, the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international is not the only avenue being explored by manager Nigel Clough who is also believed to have identified at least two other potential acquisitions.

Speaking earlier this week, Clough warned that he would not be pressurised into making any panic buys ahead of tomorrow’s game at Crewe Alexandra, reminding the window for emergency loans reopens in seven days time.

With Town reportedly unsure about the prospect of Clarke joining a League One rival, it remains unclear whether they would allow a deal to be processed before the 11pm cut-off point should United decide to pursue this particular option.

“We won’t be rushed into doing anything for the sake of it,” Clough told the media on Tuesday. “Whoever comes in has got to be right and, for those of us outside the top-flight, there is the possibility of using the loan market from February 7th onwards anyway.

“We’ll see what happens. But, whoever comes in, has got to be right. They’ve got to add something to what we’ve already got.”

Clarke, aged 26, made six appearances for United after arriving on loan from Blackpool midway through the 2011/12 Championship campaign.

United, who last night allowed his former club to take over the remainder of Tony McMahon’s contract, have already been active in the transfer market with Stefan Scougall, John Brayford, Bob Harris and Billy Paynter arriving at the club.

Scougall, previously of Livingston, was being courted by Wolverhampton Wanderers and Peterborough before electing to join Clough’s squad while Harris arrived as part of the deal which saw McMahon move to Bloomfield Road.

“This is a great opportunity for Tony and we don’t want to stand in his way,” Clough said. “We have John Brayford in the right-back position until the end of the season and then we will re-assess.”

Meanwhile, United have announced a new date for their FA Youth Cup tie against Everton.

The match, which had been scheduled to take place on February 11, will now kick-off at 7pm on February 17 instead.

Tickets for the game priced £3 adults with under-16’s over-60’s, disabled supporters and NUS cardholders aged between 16 and 21 admitted free.