Blades loan duo set for baptism of fire

Billy Clarke. Picture by Dan Westwell
Billy Clarke. Picture by Dan Westwell
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MATT Phillips and Billy Clarke have set their sights on helping Sheffield United win tomorrow’s Steel City derby after arriving on emergency loan from Blackpool.

Danny Wilson, the United manager, admitted earlier this week that was holding talks with officials at Bloomfield Road aimed at bringing the attacking duo to Bramall Lane.

Both are expected to enjoy prominent roles against Sheffield Wednesday after completing month-long deals.

Phillips said: “This is a great opportunity for me. I want to play football and hopefully my performances can benefit the team.”

Phillips, aged 20, played in all four of England’s games at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup earlier this year. Having completed a potential £700,000 transfer from Wycombe Wanderers last summer, he scored on his Premier League debut for Ian Holloway’s side but has found opportunities in short supply this term.

Clarke, now recovered from the knee injury which forced him to miss the entire 2010/11 campaign, is a Republic of Ireland under-21 international.

The 23-year-old has made eight appearances for Blackpool since their relegation from the top-flight.

“Sheffield United is obviously a big club so it’s really good to be here and hopefully get quite a few games under my belt,” he said.