Sheffield United could hand more members of their academy a chance to shine at first team level during tonight’s friendly at Northampton Town, writes James Shield.
Jason Pailing and 16-year-old Louis Reed, who became the club’s youngest ever representative in a league fixture when he featured against Rotherham earlier this year, both started last weekend’s Bass Charity Vase defeat by Burton Albion alongside fellow graduate Connor Dimaio.
Clough, who also awarded Diego De Girolamo a place in the squad which faced Albion, said: “It’s great that we were able to get these lads involved because it’s all part of their education and experience. It’s really pleasing to see them coming through.
“It’s something we’ll look to do again. It’s important to recognise that we didn’t do this as a favour. We did it because these boys showed they were deserving of an opportunity.”
Town, managed by former United defender Chris Wilder, returned to England on Sunday after establishing a temporary training camp in Scotland.
Marc Richards is expected to appear for the hosts following his recent transfer from Chesterfield.
“Marc’s been first class since he’s been with us,” Wilder said. “He’s a senior presence around the squad, he’s a talker and he sets examples.
“If I’m a player now my big aim is to do as much as I possibly can in training to get into the side. I know I have to take any chance that comes my way in the games to put myself in the picture.”