Sheffield United: Boss offers no guarantees

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has refused to offer any guarantees in the battle for first team places at Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.

But, speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Crewe Alexandra, he insisted that no member of his squad will be held hostage if they grow tired of being handed a peripheral role.

Clough said: “Some players will have to get used to not being in there every single week. That’s the way it’s always been.

“If they go somewhere else, with a weaker squad than the one we’ve got here, then admittedly that might not be the case. But, of course, there is a downside to doing that.”

Clough, whose side visit Gresty Road in the first round of the competition, added: “If you’re not in the starting eleven then what you’ve got to do is work hard in training and be ready to take your chance when it arises. That’s the way football has always worked.

“But we completely understand why, let’s say a senior or more experienced player, might want to go out and get some games if they are not involved as much as they would like at the moment.

“We would never stand in the way of anyone who thought it would benefit them, and also this club, by doing that. We’d always listen.”

United, who included trialist Kieran Wallace in the under-21 side which beat Crewe 2-1 in the Professional Development League on Monday afternoon, have elected against renewing Diego De Girolamo’s youth loan at York City. The forward, who scored three goals in four appearances for the League Two club, had been scheduled to return to South Yorkshire later this week.

Clough stated before sanctioning De Girolamo’s departure that he could take part in United’s JP Trophy tie against Walsall on November 12.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1