Sheffield United: Nigel Clough goes Dutch in bid to get goals

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough

Sheffield United could be poised to resurrect their interest in Dutch centre-forward Kevin van Veen after Nigel Clough, the League One club’s manager, refused to call time on its bid for automatic promotion.

Clough, who revealed he hopes to bring “three or four” new faces to Bramall Lane before next month’s deadline for permanent signings, warned coaching staff would be “absolutely furious” if they suspected players of throwing-in the towel despite falling 18 points behind second-placed Bristol City.

Chris O'Grady

Chris O'Grady

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Tottenham Hotspur, Clough told The Star: “We’re working hard and we’re looking at three, maybe four, names. We know exactly which ones we want

“We’re close so we’ve just got to show patience.

“It doesn’t matter if they’re cup tied, we just want to bring them here, then we know they are through the door.

“If we can do a little bit on Monday or Tuesday, irrespective of whether can play, then we can focus on two great games we’ve got coming-up. That would be the ideal situation.”

United slipped to seventh in the table, having played one match less than sixth-placed Bradford City, following last weekend’s defeat by MK Dons.

“We would be furious if we thought anyone had given up,” Clough, whose side visit Preston North End in the FA Cup three days after their trip to White Hart Lane, added. “But we don’t think for one minute that’s going to happen.

“There are 22 games to play and it’s such fine margins at the moment. We are so close, we hope, to getting someone in who will bridge that gap. It’s just being ruthless or clinical, whatever you want to call it.

“We can coax even more out of the team. We’ve got it within the squad but we can also do with some help.”

READ MORE: Match Analysis - Blades see top two spot slip further away at stadium:mk

According to reports in Holland Van Veen, who has scored 13 games in 18 outings for FC Oss this term, has been scouted by representatives of both United and Scunthorpe in recent months after indicating he is unlikely to agree an extended contract with the Dutch Eerste Divisie outfit.

Brighton and Hove Albion striker Chris O’Grady, together with Derby County’s Paul Coutts, is a confirmed target while the Scottish midfielder’s team mate Kieron Freeman could also join him at United. A deal for O’Grady, who impressed on loan in South Yorkshire before being recalled to The AMEX Stadium, is dependent upon whether Albion can identify a replacement.

Clough, meanwhile, has predicted Ryan Flynn will return to action against Spurs after missing the game at stadium:mk due to an Achilles problem. However, substitute goalkeeper Iain Turner could miss-out as he continues to nurse a hamstring injury.

“Ryan has got a chance,” Clough said. “He’s not be ruled-out or anything like that yet because we don’t think it’s too serious.”

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