Clough aims to harness potential with summer arrivals

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire).
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough (Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire).
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NIGEL CLOUGH has revealed that Sheffield United’s list of transfer targets for the summer has already been drawn up.

The Blades’ hopes of securing promotion to the Championship were ended on Monday night with defeat in the play-off semi-finals to Swindon Town.

It meant that, as the Robins looked forward to taking on Preston North End at Wembley on May 24, Clough’s focus was already turning to next season and the club’s attempt to end their stay in League One at the fifth attempt.

Yesterday saw Michael Doyle told that his contract will not be renewed when it expires next month and further departures are expected in the coming days.

On his summer plans, Clough told The Yorkshire Post: “We have already established our targets. Now it is just a case of getting them in.

“We have learned a lot about the players out there. We also learned more about what we need for next season. We had a pretty good idea already, it just confirmed some things out there.

“Centre-half is the priority. You can see the qualities Bash (Chris Basham, who has been pressed into action at the back this term) brings to midfield. He wins the ball, he breaks play up and he can score goals.

“It depends on how many we bring in, centre-halves, whether he is regarded as one or not (next season). The key is getting the right three or four new players in over the summer.”

United used 37 players this term, more than most clubs in the third tier.

A contributory factor was a busy January that saw Matty Done, Steven Davies, John Brayford, Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts arrive at Bramall Lane.

“If we’d have had this side for the full season and not just January then I’d have fancied us for automatic,” added Clough.

“You can see the potential we have got when you see young Che (Adams) coming on and doing so well. Paul Coutts and Jamie Murphy did well for us. Ryan Flynn too.

“When you consider all of that, before we have even brought anyone in, there is a lot there.

“We are only 18 months in. We have gone from bottom six to top six in that time.”