Sunderland v Sheffield United: Blades have ingredients for success says Clayton Donaldson

Clayton Donaldson: Aiming to lift Sheffield United.
Clayton Donaldson: Aiming to lift Sheffield United.
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Hull, Harrogate, Scarborough, Halifax, York and Sheffield sound like an A-Z of footballing outposts in Yorkshire.

But it is the footballing CV of new Sheffield United striker Clayton Donaldson, who joined the Blades on transfer deadline day and is due to make his debut at Sunderland today.

The 33-year-old Bradfordian still lives in Brough in East Yorkshire, and brings vital experience of the Championship to United’s forward line.

It is not the first time Donaldson has worked with Blades chief Chris Wilder, the striker spending a loan spell at Wilder’s Halifax Town in 2004.

“I think I was 19 at the time. I was at Hull City and went to Halifax on loan,” recalled Donaldson, who joined United from Birmingham City. “Chris was the manager there and I got on well with him.

“I liked him as a manager, and he has gone on to do all right for himself. He’s a good man-manager.

“He has tried to reach out to me a few times, to sign me, but it just wasn’t the right team or place, at that time. When I spoke to him this time, I was definitely up for the challenge.”

Starting out at Hull City, he learned his craft as a rookie striker on loan at Harrogate Town, Scarborough and Halifax before a two-year spell at York City.

From there, Donaldson took in Hibernian, Crewe, Brentford and the Blues, before returning to his native Yorkshire.

“Anyone that drops into non-league, then climbs up the leagues, it builds them into a different person. Mentality-wise, it grounds you,” he said.

“That really helped me, dropping down the leagues and finding out what it’s all about.

“I played at Scarborough, but got injured after the first game. I was out for three or four weeks. I had a brief spell there, and was at Harrogate Town, too.”

So what does Donaldson add to United’s squad?

“I just want to bring my experience here,” he replied. “I have been around the Championship for a few years now.

“If I can help with a few goals, and help the lads achieve what they want to achieve with my presence, that will be great.

“I know what the Championship is all about, and what can be achieved if you approach it right.

“I like to get in behind, bring a bit of pace to the squad.

“The Championship is all about togetherness and fighting for each other. You see a lot of big-name players in the league, but that doesn’t always get you results. Getting results is through grafting, working hard, and togetherness; the main three things that will get you up the league.

“It’s definitely got Premier League resources (at United), it’s there waiting for us.

“If I can bring that experience, there’s not much between the teams. It’s getting that togetherness and grafting, then results will come.”

Donaldson is set to partner the prolific Billy Sharp up front today.

“You mention Billy, and you know he is a goal-scorer, a threat,” he said. “If I can get the opportunity to play alongside him, I think that will make us even stronger.”