Watford v Sheffield United: Montgomery battling through pain barrier

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SHEFFIELD United midfielder Nick Montgomery has ignored doctor’s orders in a bid to help his club stay in the Championship.

Montgomery was told to rest for four to six weeks after suffering a knee injury but returned to action in the midweek victory over Nottingham Forest.

He will stay in the side for today’s trip to Watford but is likely to need pain-killers to get through the 90 minutes.

“I have rushed back from my injury and I should not even have been training until next week,” he said. “The specialist said ‘four to six weeks’ but I was back after three. Maybe it is a gamble but the gaffer asked me if I could play and I wasn’t going to say ‘no’.

“If you are carrying knocks, you still have to be fighting for Sheffield United,” he added. “I am not trying to get a medal but now is the time when we have to try to manage any injuries as best we can.”

Adams picked up his first victory in 14 attempts as manager against Forest but the Blades remained six points adrift of safety in the relegation zone after rivals Crystal Palace grabbed a dramatic late winner against Cardiff City.

Montgomery, who has spent all his career at Bramall Lane, feels the result could still be priceless. “There was disappointment when we saw the Palace result but it also underlined just how important our win was. If we had not won, it would have been an even bigger gap (nine points). It was a massive relief and we showed great character after going 1-0 down and missing a penalty.

“We need to use that result as a springboard now for the last 10 games. Some people are writing us off but we proved something to the fans and everyone else that we still have plenty of belief.”

The Blades yesterday signed goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas on a free transfer from Australian club Bankstown City Lions.

Thomas, 18, has travelled with the squad to Vicarage Road but is expected to start on the bench as cover for Steve Simonsen. He is manager Adams’s eighth new signing and has signed a deal until the end of the season.

Watford, who lie nine points adrift of the play-off zone and 16 clear of the relegation zone, moved a step closer to a takeover deal this week when a £440,000 offer was launched on the London Stock Exchange from a company set up by surgeon Panos Thomas and financed by entrepreneur Laurence Bassini.