Steel City derby baptism gives loan winger Phillips taste of life at Blades

SHEFFIELD United winger Matt Phillips is ready for a hostile reception tomorrow night when the Blades visit Preston North End in League One.

Phillips and striker Billy Clarke have both joined the Blades on loan from Preston’s arch-rivals Blackpool.

It guarantees a rough ride from Lillywhites supporters but Phillips, who made his Blades debut as a substitute in Sunday’s Steel City derby, could not care less.

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“I could get some stick but as a football player you have got to deal with that and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Hopefully, I am going to get a few starts during my stay here but obviously I have got to perform well in training and take it from there.”

Manager Danny Wilson signed Phillips on a month’s loan after winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing returned to parent club Wolves with a hamstring injury. Striker Clarke, 24, has also come in to strengthen the club’s attacking options but was an unused substitute in the derby which ended in a 2-2 draw.

Phillips said: “It was good to get on the field and be part of the derby. We only got a point but there were a lot of positives to take from the game. We controlled it and I don’t remember too many times when we looked stretched. I didn’t really know what to expect but the fans were great throughout and really backed the side. It was a great atmosphere to come into and, although I didn’t want to go overboard, I wanted to show a bit of what I could do.”

Having started only two games for Blackpool this season, Phillips was happy to go out on loan in search of first-team football.

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The former Wycombe winger, 20, spent the summer playing for England in the Under-20 World Cup and is keen to remind Blackpool manager Ian Holloway of his talent during his stay at Bramall Lane.

“I hope I still have a future at Blackpool but since coming back from Colombia this summer I have not been able to get many starts. Hopefully, I will get some now. This is a massive club and there is no reason why I wouldn’t want to come here.”