SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams has landed West Bromwich Albion defender Joe Mattock and Aston Villa defender Shane Lowry on loan deals until the end of the season.
Both men will make instant debuts against Coventry City tomorrow as the Blades look for the points needed to start pulling away from the Championship relegation zone.
England Under-21 international Mattock is currently serving a 10-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty in September to a charge of affray following an incident in a Leicester nightclub.
Amid the uncertainty over his future, Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo signed two new leftbacks last summer – Aston Villa's Nicky Shorey and Portsmouth's James Hurst – and Mattock has not played a first-team game for nine months.
"This could be a fresh start, I just want to make my way back onto the footballing scene again," he said yesterday. "What's happened to me has been a disappointment and not playing for five months gets to you – but staying focused is part of being a professional.
"I can't look too far ahead just now, I just want to play games and do well for the club," he added. "I have still got another two years on my contract at West Brom and I don't know what will happen in six months' time."
Mattock, now 20, burst onto the scene at Leicester City aged just 16 and played for the England
Under-21 side aged 17 before landing a 1m move to West Brom in the summer of 2009.
His career stalled after the nightclub incident while an ankle injury also hindered his progress last summer.
Adams, however, was alerted to his availability by the player's grandfather Terry, who knew the Blades manager's late father from caravan holidays in Mablethorpe.
"When the gaffer called me, the first thing he said was 'I've been speaking to your grandad,'" said Mattock.
"Apparently, he's an old friend of the gaffer's dad. He goes up to a caravan in Mablethorpe and stays there most of the summer. He lives in Leicester but is originally from Peterborough and, for some reason, he is an Ipswich Town fan. But, hopefully, he will be at Coventry on Saturday because I'm sure he would like to come and watch.
"I am glad to be here and I want to do well for Sheffield United," he said. "The league position didn't matter to me. It's just a phase and I will do everything I can to try and get the club out of this situation.
"There is nothing better than playing, and playing well, and people realising that. I want to get Sheffield United back up where they belong."
Mattock – who was still a youngster in Leicester's Academy when Adams was in charge at the Walkers Stadium – hopes the move will revive his career both at domestic and international level and is keen to add to his tally of five England Under-21 caps.
"I played a few games and I went away on a trip with England Under-19s but I was in and out at West Brom and situations did not help," he said. "I never got the chance for the past nine months to play again but I see this as a chance now to get playing and get back in the side.
"Hopefully Stuart Pearce (England's coach) will have his eye on me when I am back playing."
Lowry, 21, has yet to play for Aston Villa's first team but spent over three months on loan with Leeds United in League One last season.
Although he missed the crucial penalty in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Area final shoot-out against Carlisle United, Lowry helped Leeds win promotion on the final day of last season before landing a new two-year deal with Villa and a call-up to the Australian national squad.
"He had a good loan spell at Leeds so coming to a club like ours won't faze him," said Adams, whose defensive options have been stretched to the limit by the loss through injuries of Chris Morgan, Andy Taylor, Nyron Nosworthy and Stephen Jordan. "He is young, enthusiastic, fits the profile we are looking for, and I have watched him recently in Villa's reserves."
On Mattock, Adams said: "He got into the first team at a very young age and got a big money move to West Brom. He has good credentials and wants to play. He is a natural left-sider and we were slightly unbalanced in terms of left and right footers.
"He has been slightly unlucky at West Brom, he played 29-30 games last season as they got promoted from the Championship, but he got an ankle injury in pre-season and they supplemented their squad with a couple of left-backs."
Although the Blades failed in a bid to bring centre-back Matthew Kilgallon back to Bramall Lane, Adams is delighted to have signed two players with bags of potential.
"There are a lot of older, experienced pros out there that we could get but my policy at the moment is to try and freshen it up with people who have a bit of learning to do, a bit of vibrancy, and who want to learn," said Adams. "Any loan is with a view to extending, but whether permanent or not I don't know."
The arrival of Mattock and Lowry will not be the only boost to United's squad this weekend.After being reduced to just 12 fit senior players for last weekend's FA Cup exit against Aston Villa, Adams is hoping to welcome back winger Mark Yeates, striker Richard Cresswell and defender Matty Lowton after injuries while midfielder Stephen Quinn is available after serving a three-match ban.