NIGEL CLOUGH has revealed he is hopeful that loan striker Chris O’Grady will remain at Sheffield United for the rest of the season.
The ex-Barnsley marksman only signed late last month from Brighton – initially until January 31 – and has already spoken of his desire to stay beyond that after a tough time on the south coast.
Earlier this week, Brighton manager Sami Hyppia hit out at comments made by O’Grady, stating that it was the first he had heard about his intention to stick around longer-term at United.
But despite what he perceived to be a lack of courtesy from O’Grady in not contacting him about his intentions, it is likely that the 28-year-old will stay at S2 unless circumstances at his parent club drastically change.
On the future of O’Grady, who has a recall clause after the first 28 days of his loan – although it is unlikely to be invoked by Brighton – Clough said: “We would have done exactly the same in Brighton’s situation and said: ‘Well, we will leave all the options open’.
“There are not many clubs who would commit at this stage until the end of the season and it is to be expected they have got a 24-hour recall after 28 days.
“But I think all parties are hoping that it all goes smoothly and that he is with us until the summer.”
O’Grady is battling to overcome a calf injury to feature in the Blades’ first-ever game at Fleetwood on Saturday, with Craig Alcock (back) another doubt.
United’s trip to the Highbury Stadium may represent distinctly unglamourous fare ahead of their blue-riband Capital One Cup quarter-final against Southampton on Tuesday, but Clough says his players should be under no illusions of its importance.
With the January transfer window also looming, the Blades chief has issued a coded warning to any who ease off on Saturday – and beyond.
On the importance of performance in the coming games, he said: “With January coming up as well, I would say it is even more important for players at the moment.
“We are always looking for better players if we are going to get better in every position. That is our job, to try and improve it all the way through.
“It means if you are a player, you will be thinking there’s a couple of people who will be coming in January.”