Sheffield United: Clough could go Sammon fishing

Derby County's Connor Sammon and Blackpool's Ian Evatt battle for the ball during the npower Football League Championship match at Pride Park, Derby.
Derby County's Connor Sammon and Blackpool's Ian Evatt battle for the ball during the npower Football League Championship match at Pride Park, Derby.
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Nigel Clough has confirmed that Conor Sammon, the Derby County centre-forward, features on “a very long list” of potential targets during this month’s transfer window, writes James Shield.

Clough, whose Sheffield United side knocked Aston Villa out of the FA Cup last weekend, wants to bolster his attacking options after allowing Marlon King and Lyle Taylor to depart Bramall Lane although the latter could return during the close season.

Leicester City’s Martyn Waghorn is also understood to have been the subject of a tentative enquiry from the South Yorkshire club before English football reopened for business on New Year’s Day, but officials at The Walkers Stadium are believed to have informed United that the striker, who has made 18 appearances for the Championship leaders this term, will not be allowed to depart for the time being.

“Yes, Connor is someone we’ve looked at,” Clough, who brought the former Kilmarnock marksman to the iPro Stadium, said. “But we’ve looked at lots of other people too.

“So many in fact that, if you put a name to me and they are not regular starters for a team in the Championship, then the chances are they are on what is a very long list.”

United, whose reward for beating Villa was a fourth-round tie against either Norwich City or Fulham later this month, return to League One action at fellow strugglers Notts County this weekend.

Clough identified several areas of his squad, including centre-half and full-back, in need of strengthening soon after taking charge three months ago, but has since acknowledged that the recent performances of Matt Hill and Terry Kennedy have reduced the need for defensive reinforcements. Both featured as goals from Jamie Murphy and Ryan Flynn put Villa to the sword three days ago.

Twenty-four hours later, Taylor opened his account for Patrick Thistle, where he will spend the remainder of the campaign on loan, during the Scottish Premier League club’s victory over Heart of Midlothian.

Clough’s decision to let Taylor, who scored 29 times in 42 outings for Falkirk last term, indicates he would prefer to recruit a tried and tested striker as United look to drag themselves clear of the relegation zone, with a handful of players operating in the third tier also believed to be under consideration.

United have also been linked with Sammon’s team mate, Johnny Russell, although sources in the Midlands claim he remains an important figure in manager Steve McClaren’s plans as he recovers from a facial injury.

Meanwhile, Elliott Whitehouse reported for duty at the Redtooth Academy yesterday following a spell on loan with York City.

The midfielder, aged 20, has made 18 appearances for the League Two club who had lodged a request to extend his stay at Bootham Crescent.

Clough could still grant permission for Whitehouse to rejoin City but wants to assess his progress and immediate selection prospects first.

Callum McFadzean and Joe Ironside are expected to undergo similar tests after completing loans with Chesterfield and Halifax

“We want to have a look at everyone and see exactly where they are at,” said Clough.

“If people do go out (on loan) again then, of course, they will probably be subject to a 24-hour recall at this stage of the season so we can bring them back if required.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1