Clough hopes to strengthen

Michael Higdon
Michael Higdon
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Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough is hopeful of making another signing - either on a loan or permanent basis - before Saturday’s season opener at home to Bristol City.

Clough - who saw a joint deal for full-back Kieron Freeman and striker Mason Bennett collapse last week before signing striker Michael Higdon - is still searching for full back cover and another centre-half, after selling Harry Maguire to Premier League side Hull City.

United have made nine signings in a busy summer, and manager Clough said: “We’re trying to get some bodies in ahead of Saturday.

“We still look a little short, maybe by one or two players. We lost Harry and haven’t yet replaced him, and we need some cover in the full-back areas, too.”

Indeed, right-back Craig Alcock and left-back Bob Harris are both carrying knocks ahead of Saturday’s game, which is being televised on Sky Sports (12.15pm kick off).

Both players will be assessed before the game - but James Wallace, another of Clough’s summer acquisitions, is rated as the biggest doubt. He should, however, be fit for next Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Mansfield at Bramall Lane.

Striker Higdon is expected to begin his Bramall Lane career on the bench, after signing from Dutch side NEC earlier this week.

“He’s kept fit and looks in good nick,” Clough said, “but there’s a difference between running around a park on your own, and playing football.

“But he’s enjoying it, and it’s just about getting him up to speed now.”