Chris O’Grady will have no problem winning over supporters at Bramall Lane, Nigel Clough insisted last night, after joining Sheffield United on emergency loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, writes James Shield.
The centre-forward, who is scheduled to remain in South Yorkshire until January, represented Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley before moving to The AMEX Stadium during the close season.
But Clough, speaking ahead of tonight’s League One fixture with Notts County, insisted those previous associations will not count against his latest acquisition.
“It won’t even be an issue,” Clough told The Star. “That’s because the fans here have seen Chris in action and they know exactly what he’s capable of.
“We’re delighted to bring him in and we’re sure he’s going to be a really good fit. What you see is what you get with Chris because he’s an experienced professional who knows this division and has proved his worth in it before.
“It’s a show of his commitment that, after moving all the way down there, he’s decided to uproot himself again to play football for us.”
United fought-off competition from Millwall and Preston North End to secure O’Grady’s signature after the 28-year-old was granted permission to leave Albion. His presence, together with the news that fellow strikers Marc McNulty and Michael Higdon have recovered from injury, means Clough could face a welcome selection dilemma for the visit of sixth placed County.
O’Grady, whose temporary agreement could later be extended until the end of the campaign, was on the verge of brokering a permanent transfer to United after leaving Oakwell four months ago but elected for Sami Hyypia’s side instead.
“There were no hard feelings about that,” Clough, the United manager, added. “It was completely understandable because it looked as if he was going to a Championship side that was going to challenge for promotion and they made him an offer we couldn’t match.
“All we did was tell Chris that he still thought highly of him and to remember where we are. Hopefully that, together with the geography because he knows this area well, counted for something.”