Clough happy to have reserved his judgment as Baxter makes mark

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough
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JOSE BAXTER comes up against former club Oldham Athletic today having won over Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough.

The attacking midfielder was not in the new manager’s side when Clough first arrived in South Yorkshire, but since recovering from injury he has grafted hard to impress the coaching staff.

While former Everton youngster Baxter’s ability on the ball has never been in question – as today’s visitors will declare, after spending last season at Boundary Park before a summer move to the Blades – the 21-year-old’s work off the ball has improved. “He’s playing very well,” said Clough. “What we like most about him is his work-rate at the moment.

“When we came in those first few weeks he was just coming back from injury so it was unfair to judge him. But he has started working a lot harder in the last month or so and we are starting to see the results on the pitch.

“He has got the ability and quality to hurt teams. We are still not getting the ball to him as much as we would like.

“He’s not changed his game, he just has to be a bit more team-aware. When we are struggling at times in game you can’t afford to have only 10 people working. You need 11 and he has been as good as anybody in that department recently.”

The Blades have impressed this month, but with back-to-back games at Bramall Lane against Oldham today and Tranmere Rovers on Sunday, Clough hopes United can kick on up the table.

“We have started the process, but there is a long way to go,” said the former Derby County chief.

“There is a little more collective belief in the dressing room that ‘we are not losing today’. The only way you can get that is by getting positive results.”

Last six: Sheffield United WDDWWD, Oldham DDDLWL.

Last time: Sheffield United 1 Oldham 1; October 13, 2012; League One.

Referee: M Brown (East Yorkshire).