Young defender Harrison McGahey will be allowed to leave Sheffield United on a temporary basis when the loan market re-opens for business, manager Nigel Clough has confirmed.
Centre-half McGahey, who arrived at Bramall Lane in the summer after leaving crisis club Blackpool, has made 22 appearances for Clough’s side this season.
But the 19-year-old has found first-team opportunities limited since the emergence of Chris Basham and Jay McEveley as United’s first-choice centre-half pairing, and Clough is keen to get him some game time when the Football League loan market re-opens on Monday.
“We are significantly stronger than we were on January 1,” said Clough, who has brought in John Brayford, Paul Coutts, Kieron Freeman, Jason Holt and Matty Done.
“But we’re two or three players heavy now, so some might have to go out and get some games on loan. Of course, we didn’t know until Tuesday [when United lost to Preston in the FA Cup fourth round replay] what our schedule would be over the coming months.
“The main one is Harrison... he needs to get out and play some games, maybe in League Two. He’s only a young player at the start of his career but he came in and went straight into the team, and did well. At his age, he needs to be playing regularly.
“He looked a very promising player at the start of the season and showed what he can do, but since then he’s gone backwards a little bit.
“But that’s inevitable. We think very highly of him but he’s one player we’re looking to get out.”
Clough, whose side resume their League One campaign away at Gillingham this weekend, allowed young goalkeeper George Long to join Motherwell on loan earlier this week before agreeing to cancel the contract of out-of-favour Stephen McGinn.
Star winger Jamie Murphy and young centre-half Terry Kennedy also agreed new contracts at Bramall Lane, and Clough said: “We’re fairly happy with the size of the squad and feel we’re covered in all key areas.
“We’re out of both cup competitions now, which will help with fixture congestion, but we’ve still got a fairly hectic schedule over the last few months of the season and we’ll need the majority of our players.
“We won’t often make ten changes, like we have for the last few games, but we’ll be playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday most weeks from now on in and I think most of the lads can handle that.”
“Tying down Jamie and Terry was as important as signing the players we did,” Clough added.
“Murph is a major threat wherever he plays, so we’re delighted he signed and Terry is a promising youngster. Every time he’s played, he’s not let us down.”
McGinn, meanwhile, has broken his silence on a difficult last few months at Bramall Lane, before being allowed to return to his native Scotland and join Dundee.
“When I first went down, the first few years with Watford were really good and I was delighted with my first season at Sheffield United,” McGinn said.
“But the manager turned quite quickly and I found myself out of favour. Sometimes it happens in football, but it’s been a really difficult spell.
“The manager didn’t really say much - he just kind of said to me that I’ll not play again and I’ll not play any reserve games, go and find yourself a new club.
“It was a really strange situation but you just need to get on with it.
“He brought in a lot of players who play in my position, so when you are out of the team, sometimes it’s better to be told you can go.
“I’ve played in a lot of big games with Sheffield United, winning at Villa Park and at Fulham in the FA Cup, so coming back up to Scotland, I feel a lot more experienced.”