Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has revealed that Andy Butler is again set to depart Bramall Lane on loan despite seeing a proposed agreement with Walsall collapse, writes James Shield.
Speaking after last night’s 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town, which lifted his team to sixth in the League One table, Clough admitted the centre-half is the subject of an enquiry from another unnamed club after spending the past month with Dean Smith’s side.
The decision to allow Butler to rejoin Walsall on a temporary basis shortly after his arrival at Bramall Lane initially raised eyebrows among some sections of the United support, particularly when Clough expressed reservations about his defence’s performance during the opening weeks of the campaign.
But after watching them record a second clean sheet in as many outings, despite the absence of Paddy McCarthy (hamstring) and Jay McEveley (shoulder) through injury, Clough told The Star: “We were surprised to see Andy back because we had already done a deal with Walsall, in principle, to extend (the loan).
“We’ve had a call from elsewhere though about taking him and so we’ll consider that over the next 48 hours.
“We’ve got Paddy and Jay as the two first choices in there at the moment, Harrison (McGahey) and Chris (Basham) who played here and Craig Alcock can step in there too.
“Terry Kennedy, as we’ve seen, is available again as well now.
“So I think it would be unfair to keep Andy here at this moment.”
“I think Walsall just told us they have got a few different priorities they’ve got to address now,” Clough added.
“We’ll look to get Andy elsewhere because he wants games and we’ll try to do something until January if possible.”
Butler, aged 30, played seven times for Walsall during his second spell in the Midlands.
Smith indicated following their defeat by Crewe Alexandra four days ago that he wanted to retain the centre-half’s services as Walsall, who face United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area quarter-finals, attempt to claw themselves away from the relegation zone.
United are three points behind second-placed Peterborough after goals from Marc McNulty and Jamie Murphy put Town to the sword and Clough said: “We’re in a good position and it’s encouraging because we know we can get even better, that there’s still plenty more to come from this team. So, like keeping another clean sheet, especially in the circumstances, that’s a real positive.
“I thought we deserved that win without a shadow of a doubt although Yeovil did make us work hard for it at times. However, we probably could have got a couple more goals than we actually did.”