Blades closing in on defender to give boss Clough options

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough.
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough.
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Sheffield United hope to end their search for a centre-half today.

The Blades have been looking for a replacement for Harry Maguire – who was sold to Hull City for £2.5m – since the summer.

Teenager Harry McGahey and Neill Collins have showed promise, but Blades boss Nigel Clough wants another central defender at Bramall Lane with a hectic fixture list over the next month.

United are currently in talks with the player – Clough refused to give any hints as to his identity – agent, and club, and hope a one-month loan deal can be signed off today so he is available for the short trip to Chesterfield in League One on Saturday.

“We’re generally happy with the squad but if we get the chance to bring a good player in, especially with the volume of games coming up, then we’ll take it,” said Clough, who also wants to bring in an attacker on loan. “We always want players to improve us or offer something different and, in this instance, that’s the case.

“If all goes well then we’ll have one in for Saturday. Hopefully they’ll be here and train on the Friday, that’s the plan.

“It’s taken a while because the club, the agent and the player, we all have to get together and make sure it’s right. It will be for a month initially.

“On the second, there’s nothing imminent. If we really want to push it then there’s a chance but we have people like Jamal (Campbell-Ryce) coming back.”

Clough has been pleased with the improvement in fitness of summer signings James Wallace and Michael Higdon.

“James Wallace isn’t 100 per cent. But he’s shown his potential,” he said. “We were pleased to get him because we know what a good player he is. We thought this would be the case because he’d been out for so long.

“Michael is also showing signs of getting up to speed.”