Sheffield United: Clough confirms striker interest

Derby County's Johnny Russell battles for the ball with Leicester City's Danny Drinkwater. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Derby County's Johnny Russell battles for the ball with Leicester City's Danny Drinkwater. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has confirmed he would be interested in signing Johnny Russell if the former Scotland under-21 international is allowed to leave Derby County, writes James Shield.

As The Star revealed on Monday, Russell features on a short-list of targets compiled by the League One club’s coaching staff ahead of next month’s transfer window.

Admitting fellow centre-forward Marlon King faces an uncertain future at Bramall Lane after failing to make an impression since his appointment in October, Clough said: “It’s fair to say that he (Russell) is on the list. Then again, so are a few others.

“Johnny has got good qualities but we’ve not spoken with anyone about him yet because the window hasn’t opened. We’ll have to wait and see what happens because he’s not to only one we’re looking at.”

King, recruited by Clough’s predecessor David Weir, has been used only sparingly following the 47-year-old’s arrival and is unlikely to feature at Stevenage today.

“We’re not sure about Marlon,” Clough added. “He’s had a problem with his knee lately and is on a permanent deal.”

Clough, who spent 44 months in charge of County before leaving the iPro Stadium in September, fought off competition from Catania to acquire Russell’s services earlier this year. Aged 23, he scored 46 goals in 120 appearances for Dundee United and has hit the target five times since moving to England.

“I was asked a specific question about Johnny and that’s why I answered it,” Clough said. “I don’t mind where a player comes from but, of course, if you’ve worked with them before and know them then all the better.

“There are some people we are looking at. Like I say, he’s not the only one.”

United, ranked 19th in the table, head to 21st placed Stevenage hoping to stretch their unbeaten run to six matches.

Clough, insisting talks about the future of on-loan trio Conor Coady, Simon Lappin and Aidy White will begin shortly, also acknowledged that Matt Hill’s recent performances, coupled with Terry Kennedy’s impressive displays for the under-21’s, have prompted a revision of United’s plans.

“I think we are looking at a midfielder and a striker,” Clough said. “We could possibly do with another midfielder in there.

“Matty means we’ve got good defensive cover and Terry Kennedy has also impressed us with what he’s been doing too. It’s important there is always a pathway through.”

Meanwhile chief executive Julian Winter is leaving the club to pursue new opportunities.

The club is re-organising its top tier management, which will mean Winter’s current post of CEO not being filled.

It was Winter’s second spell with the Blades.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1