CHRIS PORTER admits he owes a big debt of gratitude to Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough and is determined to repay him.
The striker, who turned 30 last month, has been a regular under Clough, who made Porter his first signing after being installed as Derby manager in early 2009.
Unfortunately, a serious hip injury ensured the Rams and Clough never saw the best out of the ex-Oldham forward, who is doing his level best to meet the Blades’ chief’s expectations the second time around.
Porter, out of favour in early autumn under ex-manager David Weir and farmed out to Chesterfield on loan, said: “I definitely do feel I owe him something and hopefully I will continue to play and repay the debt that I owe him.
“Obviously he showed a lot of faith in me at Derby. It wasn’t my fault I got a bad injury, but I did and I couldn’t really do much for the team.
“He’s signed me before, so he obviously saw something in me in the past.
“Things obviously didn’t work out at Derby, but I am over that and hoping he will see what he saw in me previously.
“If it was a different manager here who came who had never managed me before, people have their favourites and it might have been another case where the manager didn’t play me.”
The tide appears to be turning at S2 after a turbulent first half of 2013-14, which saw United in the mire at the foot of League One with many fans fearful of a return to the bottom tier for the first time since 1981-82.
After the failure of the experiment with Weir, the steady hand of Clough is putting the Blades back on an even keel after just one loss in their last 10 games.
Crucially, smiles are also back on the faces of the Blades’ players, who cut a confused, confidence-sapped and disparate bunch in the final embers of Weir’s reign.
On the renewed sense of togetherness, Porter added: “Results play a big part, but I think training is also a bit more fun. There is more laughter in training and things like that.
“Even though that doesn’t sound that much, I think it does have a big influence on the squad and team and makes the lads more together.”