HUDDERSFIELD Town’s new £1m signing Danny Ward feels there is no substitute for first-team football.
Bradford-born Ward, who spent two months on loan with the Terriers last season, is back at the Galpharm Stadium after completing a permanent move from Bolton Wanderers.
Although it means waving farewell to the Premier League, Ward, 20, is adamant that the move can kick-start his career.
“I had to make the decision whether I wanted to start the season on a bench – getting five or 10 minutes here and there – or hopefully getting in the starting XI at Huddersfield and playing a big role,” he said.
“There is no real comparison between playing reserve-team football and playing first-team football. In the end, that is what swayed it.”
Town manager Lee Clark has reinvested money from the £2m sale of Anthony Pilkington to Norwich City and £750,000 departure of Lee Peltier to Leicester City to land Ward, who was on the books of both Bradford City and Leeds United as a youngster.
“We know everything about the player and he knows everything about us,” said Clark.
“We know he can be a top player for many years to come – he’s still very young, so he can develop even more. I must admit that when we first approached Bolton we did it out of hope more than anything else. But we kept knocking at the door and eventually the opportunity presented itself.”
Ward signed a three-yeal deal and the Terriers also have the option to extend for a fourth season.
Former Leeds United defender Jonathan Woodgate insists that he “still has a lot to offer” after signing a one-year deal with Stoke City.
Woodgate, 31, made just four appearances in the last two seasons because of groin problems and was released by Tottenham Hotspur this summer.
“It was important for me to work hard on my fitness during the summer because I wasn’t sure where I would be playing and I knew that would decide my future,” said Woodgate, who was also linked with a possible return to Elland Road.
“Hopefully, I can stay fit now because I feel I still have a lot to offer at this level.
Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson is running the rule over German defenders Alexander Kruk and Oliver Stang.
Both played for German Second Division club VFL Osnabruck last season and were due to turn out for the Blades in a friendly last night against Worksop Town.
Wilson has yet to learn whether striker Jordan Slew will sign a new extended deal with the club.
Mark Yeates will have talks with Watford today after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee for the winger.
Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Alan Irvine has gone back to Everton for a third spell as the Merseyside club’s Academy director.
Irvine had been out of football since being sacked by the Owls five months ago and applied unsuccessfuly for the manager’s job at Barnsley.
Leicester City winger Lloyd Dyer has ruled out the possibility of a move to Wednesday.
Owls manager Gary Megson was keen to sign Dyer, who has been unable to command a regular first-team place at Leicester under Sven Goran Eriksson.
“I don’t want to go anywhere,” said Dyer. “I have had no contact from Sheffield Wednesday and I wouldn’t entertain that either.”
Former Owls winger Etienne Esajas is on trial at Swindon Town.
Trialists Rachid Bouherra, Rowan Vine and Ellis Deeney have joined Doncaster Rovers on a three-day break to an outward bound centre in Cumbria.
Bradford City are set to sign former Nottingham Forest striker Nialle Rodney on a one-year deal.
Rodney, 20, was released by Forest this summer but made three first-team appearances last season and also played on loan at Burton Albion.
He had been training with the Bantams since June and manager Peter Jackson said: “I’ve been really impressed.
“He offers us something different to what we already have in attack. He’s a forward player with real pace and I think that is something we missed up front last season.”
Jackson is also looking to bolster his options in the goalkeeping department with triallist Jon Brain set to feature in the club’s first pre-season friendly of the summer tonight at Silsden.
Brain, 28, is a free agent after being released by Walsall. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers trainee Billy Lumley, 21, is also training with the club.
Goalkeeper Conrad Logan, 25, has joined Rotherham United on a six-month loan deal from Leicester City.
Logan is keen to play regular first-team football and has previously been on loan to Bristol Rovers, Stockport County, Luton Town and Boston United.
“Conrad has experience of getting promoted from this division and that is vital,” said Millers manager Andy Scott. “We have got a few lads now that have been promoted from this league so they know what it is about. Leicester rate Conrad very highly but credit to the lad, he wants to get out and play games.
“He went to Bristol Rovers last year and nearly kept them up, so he will come in and add more competition to that position.”
Defender Stephen Brogan has joined Scunthorpe United on trial after his release by the Millers.
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele has been ruled out for up to three months after breaking his wrist in training.