Montgomery farewell to Blades supporters

Blades stalwart Nick Montgomery will say an emotional farewell to Sheffield United today as he heads off for a new career in Australia.

The 30-year-old left the Blades for Australian side Central Coast Mariners on transfer deadline day bringing an end to a 12-year stay at Bramall Lane, which saw him make his debut at the age of 18 in a 4-2 defeat at Norwich in October 2000.

The Leeds-born midfielder was part of the Blades team which lost in the FA Cup semi-final to Arsenal in 2003, while he played 26 times for Neil Warnock’s side in the Premier League season of 2006-07.

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In total, the former Scottish Under-21 player made 351 appearances for the Blades. His last time in a red and white shirt came at Wembley in the play-off final defeat to Huddersfield Town in May.

With pressure to reduce the wage bill, Montgomery was allowed to leave - along with other regulars like Matt Lowton and Stephen Quinn – and the midfielder will be at today’s League One match with Bury to say farewell to home supporters before her jets off Down Under.

“I’ve had a fantastic time here and I didn’t want it to end on a bad note and thankfully for me it hasn’t,” he said.

“We came to an amicable agreement over my contract and it’s allowed me to move on fulfil an ambition I’ve always had.

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“I’ll miss all the friends that I’ve made and I’ll be back at the end of the season to watch a couple of the games.

“I went to the training ground to see the lads and the staff last week and that was pretty emotional and I’m going to the Bury game on Saturday, which will be a great chance to say goodbye to the fans.”

Swapping the Championship for Australia means Montgomery will be piling up the airmiles over the next 12 months.

“I just want to be successful and this is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

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“It’ll be a totally different experience. They’re in the Asian Champions League so we’ll be playing in China, Japan and South Korea.

“I’m excited for a new challenge and a totally fresh start.”

Blades manager Danny Wilson must wish he could call on a player of Montgomery’s experience today, with both Ryan Flynn and Michael Doyle starting three-match bans after their red cards last Saturday at Scunthorpe.

But he is able to call upon new loan signing Paul Gallagher, who looks set to play on the left wing.

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“It is always difficult to get players of his ability on-loan but we have known of his availability for a while and his versatility will be important given the suspensions,” said Wilson

“The experienced players you want aren’t always available when you need them, but thankfully is this an instance it has worked out and we feel he can fit into the team straight away.

“We are getting an experienced player with talent, who offers us versatility and, most importantly, a lad who wants to play football.”

Gallagher added: “I told the manager of my versatility, but my preferred is playing from the left and cutting inside on to my right foot. Because I was a striker growing up I always have had the knack of scoring goals and taking up dangerous positions in and around the box.”