Sheffield United: Striker signing means Blades won’t take a backward step

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (right) with first team coach Andy Garner
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (right) with first team coach Andy Garner

Nigel Clough last night insisted the arrival of Steven Davies on loan means Sheffield United are now better equipped to cope with the physical demands of a promotion campaign, writes James Shield.

Davies completed his protracted transfer from Blackpool yesterday and is scheduled to remain with the League One club until the end of the season.

Clough, who has previously acknowledged concerns about the lack of height within Bramall Lane’s first team squad, explained that recruiting the centre-forward is in part designed to make them a more intimidating proposition.

“Steven gives us a little more firepower and gives us a different option too,” the United manager said. “He’s got a little bit more presence about him in the air and his left foot is as good as anything.

“Steven scores goals as well. You just want somebody who scores reasonably consistently and he fits that bill.

“We know we’re short on height. There was no point in bringing in another small striker unless they were something exceptional because we’ve already got two very good lads in that mould.

“Steven can take free-kicks as well because he’s very strong with both feet.”

Davies, aged 27, is expected to make his United debut against Fleetwood Town today as the hosts attempt to close the 10 point gap separating themselves from second-placed Preston North End.

Clough, dismissing suggestions that automatic promotion is now an impossibility, also confirmed fellow striker Michael Higdon is set to feature for the under-21’s next week as part of his rehabilitation following a hamstring injury.

United thought they had brokered a deal for Davies in January only for Blackpool to abort the agreement and Clough said: “When we’ve got close in the past it’s led to disappointment. On both sides but mainly his.

“Dropping down a league shows how much he wants to be here.

But hopefully he realises the potential and he’ll have spoken to a few of the lads here.

“Fingers crossed he gets us the couple of goals that could really make a big difference.”

United, in fifth, trailed the top two by 18 points after losing at Gillingham last month. Seven matches later, they prepare to host the visitors from Highbury having clawed back eight despite being beaten by Peterborough four days ago.

Clough said: “It shows how much it can swing. And we’ve got two more of those blocks to go.

“We are going to get the odd set-back, everybody will do, it’s how you respond.”

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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