Alan Biggs at Large: Nigel Clough has been backed, now it’s time for the long push for promotion at Bramall Lane

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough
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From all you hear about the way Fawaz Al-Hasawi runs Nottingham Forest I think there was/is zero chance of Nigel Clough being lured to his father’s old club.

Which is also why this week’s termination of Sheffield United’s cup crusades was less of an end and more of a beginning.

The main business of getting the Blades into the Championship may take another year but the commitment from those who matter is total. For Clough to be able to select virtually two different teams for back-to-back matches in the last week has showed the extent of his backing.

For all that there was a stale, rather than fresh, feel about the way United were deprived of facing Manchester United by a deserving Preston who looked physically stronger.

Certainly, the Blades are far from a big team and Clough has addressed a lack of extra pace with the signing of fast-breaking Matty Done, who could debut at Gillingham.

Overall, though, they should have more than enough to go hard for promotion one way or the other. But it is not breakneck stuff. While other clubs prepare to throw managers overboard, and dismantle whole squads, in the event of even narrow failure, United are on an unbending course that instinct suggests must succeed, whether it be sooner or later.