Craig Alcock has revealed Sheffield United’s stature within the game persuaded him to join Nigel Clough’s Bramall Lane revolution, writes James Shield.
The former Peterborough full-back became the seventh new arrival at Bramall Lane this summer after electing not to extend his contract with last season’s play-off semi-finalists.
Alcock, explaining how Clough’s presence also proved influential, told The Star: “The manager here, the history, tradition and just the club itself. Those were the reasons why I came here.
“I’m delighted to get it sorted-out and it’s nice to know that someone like him (Clough) thinks you can do the job. I’m really looking forward
Alcock, aged 26, started his career with Yeovil Town before moving to London Road in 2011.
After helping Darren Ferguson’s side reach the Championship later that year, he made 39 appearances for United’s League One rivals last term but declined an invitation to extend his stay after learning of Clough’s interest.
Predicting the experience Alcock acquired during Peterborough’s promotion winning campaign will prove invaluable as United look to follow suit next term, Clough said: “Craig knows what it’s all about because he’s already done it. He knows what we are going to be coming up against and the challenges we are going to face.
“On top of all of that, Craig is at a good age and he’s played at a higher level too. You know things aren’t going to take him by surprise.
“When someone like him becomes available, especially on a free, then it’s a deal you look to get done. We needed someone in his position and we’ve followed Craig ever since he came through with Yeovil.”
“Craig has trained with us for two days now and he’s impressed,” Clough, who has secured Alcock’s services until 2016, continued. “He’s fitted in well with the rest of the lads as we knew he would.”
Although Alcock can operate anywhere across the defensive line, he is predominately deployed at right-back where United have been short of cover since Tony McMahon departed for Blackpool in January and John Brayford and Kieron Freeman returned to Cardiff City and Derby County respectively after joining Clough’s squad on loan.
“There have been some really good right-backs here in the past and if I can do half as well as them then I’ll be happy,” Alcock said. “Coming here and working with the people here should help me to improve.
“I already knew there was lots of quality here and coming in, getting out there on the training pitch with the rest of the boys, just reinforces that.”
Clough has been active in the transfer market of late with Andy Butler, Chris Basham and James Wallace among those to arrive at United while Chris Porter recently agreed a new deal.
Despite expressing his satisfaction with their business so far - “We’re pleased with the people that we’ve been able to bring in for all sorts of different reasons” - Clough confirmed he still wants to bolster United’s defensive and attacking options ahead of the forthcoming season.
Talks with Blackpool aimed at negotiating a compensation fee for Bramall Lane bound Harrison McGahey are on-going although Clough acknowledged he now expects to matter to be decided by a tribunal.
However, goalkeeper George Long could be set to depart after United received an approach from an as-yet-unidentified club offering to sign him on loan.
“Both of them (Mark Howard and Long) are too good to be sat on the bench,” Clough said. “We’ve had an enquiry about George and he’s happy to explore it so we’ll have a discussion.
“I don’t want to say who the other club is but it suits our purposes to try and do something on a half season basis.”
United’s preparation’s for August 9th’s visit of Bristol City begin in earnest when they visit Burton Albion for a friendly this weekend. Wallace is unlikely to feature after sustaining a slight groin strain while Stefan Scougall (throat infection) is also doubtful.
United have announced they will host Dundee on Friday 25 July as part of their pre-season schedule with tickets, priced £5 adults and £1 concessions, set to be placed on sale tomorrow.
Meanwhile, former United striker Shaun Miller has joined Coventry City following a successful trial. Steven Pressley, the City manager said: “I believe he can become a prolific goal-scorer for this football club.”
n Sheffield FC v Blades XI report on: P53