SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Nigel Clough has moved to allay fears that loan signing Chris O’Grady could be sidelined for an extended spell after coming off on his debut against MK Dons on Tuesday night.
The 28-year-old former Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United forward, who is on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, was forced off with a calf problem after just 23 minutes of his bow in United’s 1-0 loss to Karl Robinson’s high-fliers.
It represented an untimely development for the Blades, who had been chasing O’Grady for some time, having been initially registered their interest in the Nottingham-born player in the summer ahead of his move from Oakwell to the Seagulls.
Fates subsequently conspired for O’Grady to move to Bramall Lane last week, with the powerhouse striker out of favour on the south coast and the number one loan striking target of Clough, who had been seeking to boost his attacking options with question marks over the fitness of Marc McNulty and Michael Higdon.
O’Grady will initially stay with the Blades until early January, but Clough has already intimated that if things go well, he will look to keep the player on a longer basis.
O’Grady was not involved in Friday’s clash with Notts County due to a slight calf niggle sustained in training at Brighton.
Despite being declared fit, the 28-year-old felt the problem early on against the MK Dons, with Clough quickly bringing him off to prevent against further and potentially more lasting damage.
He said: “Chris was brought off as a precaution.
“He just felt his calf tighten up and we would have been silly to risk him at this stage.”