Sheffield United: Blades keep watching brief on former Blade

John Brayford (right) celebrates with Stefan Scougall during Sheffield United's FA Cup semi-final against Hull City last season
John Brayford (right) celebrates with Stefan Scougall during Sheffield United's FA Cup semi-final against Hull City last season
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Sheffield United will continue to monitor John Brayford’s position at Cardiff City despite being informed the Championship club has no intention of selling the defender, writes James Shield.

Brayford was the subject of an enquiry by Nigel Clough within hours of the transfer window opening earlier this month only for Russell Slade, his counterpart in Wales, to insist he remains an integral part of his plans.

But The Star understands that, despite Slade’s hardline stance, United are set to press ahead with their efforts to lure Brayford back to South Yorkshire following a successful spell on loan last term. Although the mutual respect which exists between the two managers means that United will publicly maintain their distance, it is thought Clough is set to make another approach, possibly during the close season, as part of his on-going attempt to capture the 27-year-old.

Brayford, a member of the United squad that reached the FA Cup semi-finals nine months ago, was pictured among the crowd as his former club beat Queens Park Rangers to reach the fourth round of the competition on Sunday.

Clough signed the full-back, who scored twice in 20 appearances for United after being allowed to leave City on a temporary basis, has previously worked with Clough at both Burton Albion and Derby County. Slade’s predecessor Malky Mackay paid £1.5m to lure him away from the iPro Stadium in July 2013 but with Ole Gunnar Solskjær also using Brayford sparingly, City seemed destined to part company with the England C international until Slade’s appointment changed the situation dramatically. Brayford has been an ever present since City owner Vincent Tan offered him an escape route from United’s League One rivals Leyton Orient.

City’s pursuit of Millwall’s Scott Malone will, contrary to reports, have no bearing on Brayford’s future under Slade after goals from Jamal Campbell-Ryce (2) and Marc McNulty saw United triumph 3-0 at QPR to secure a fourth round tie with Preston.

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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