Clarke thanks Sheffield United as Hogan set for Lane

Sheffield United hope to complete the signing of striker Scott Hogan on Thursday after allowing Leon Clarke to leave Bramall Lane.

Leon Clarke

Blades boss Chris Wilder is hoping to clinch the loan deal for Aston Villa striker Hogan before Thursday’s 11pm transfer deadline.

The former Brentford forward – the 26-year-old was a £12m signing – has struggled to make an impact at Villa Park and was a Blades target last summer. As Hogan arrives, Clarke has left Bramall Lane to join Championship rivals Wigan Athletic.

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The 33-year-old has moved to the DW Stadium on loan, after struggling for goals this season.

Clarke netted just three goals in 26 appearances, failing to replicate his form from last season, when he scored 19 goals in United’s first season back in the Championship.

“I had a great run of games last season and I was trusted to play every week,” said Clarke. “I helped the team to score goals, but the players I played with at Sheffield United helped make my life a lot easier and I have to thank them for that.

“I found it quite easy at times, it was all about picking up the right positions on the pitch and as a striker that’s something I have to do here with Wigan Athletic to repay the faith shown in me by the club.”

After a brief unsuccessful loan spell at Wigan in 2015, Clarke is relishing the chance to impress on his return.

“There was a bit of uncertainty about me when I joined Sheffield United because I was an ex Sheffield Wednesday player,” he said.

“Once the fans bought into me being there, they’ve been nothing but fantastic to me and I’ve only ever had encouragement, so I’d like to say thank you to them.

“I always feel like I’ve had a point to prove during my career. I had a point to prove when I went to Sheffield United and I’ve got a point to prove again now. It’s down to me to try and hit the ground running straight away to prove to people that I am good enough to play at this level and score goals.”

Clarke became a Blades hero after netting twice at Hillsborough for United in last season’s Steel City derby. He also netted all four goals in a 4-1 success over Hull City, and a hat-trick against Fulham.

In total, Clarke netted 31 times in 91 appearances for United.