Although much of the focus over the past few weeks has been on unearthing new talent in the transfer market, promoting from within will be top of the agenda at Bramall Lane tonight.
Nigel Clough, Sheffield United’s first team manager, is scheduled to attend the Professional Development League derby against Sheffield Wednesday (kick-off 7pm).
And, speaking as Chris Morgan’s side prepare to face the visitors from Hillsborough, he insisted that younger members of the former centre-half’s under-21 squad should view it as a gateway into the senior game.
“We’ve had lots of lads come through the ranks,” Clough told The Star.
“Connor (Dimaio), Louis (Reed) and Otis Khan have all used these matches as a step-up. With Chris taking them and also being involved with us, there’s a nice crossover.
“We always try and watch these fixtures and also, schedule permitting, the academy ones too.
“If someone performs well and we get some injuries then they’ve put themselves in contention to get a call.”
United will enter the contest, which was expected to mark Stefan Scougall’s return from injury before the Scot’s surprise inclusion in the squad which faced Colchester last night, searching for their first win of the season after following draws against Colchester and Coventry City with defeats to Crystal Palace and QPR.
Dimaio and Joel Coustrain could both feature after representing the Republic Of Ireland under-19s during their victory over Holland earlier this month while Jamie McDonagh, another PDL regular, scored twice as Northern Ireland’s under-19s beat their Icelandic counterparts.
“Stefan has been training and looking forward to getting back,” Clough said.
“It’s a good game and we’ll get the best team out there we can.”