Chris Porter aims to fire Sheffield United towards promotion next season after revealing his debt of gratitude to the club’s supporters and manager Nigel Clough, writes James Shield.
The former Derby County centre-forward outlined his plans having agreed a new one year contract with last season’s FA Cup semi-finalists.
Porter, who worked with Clough at the iPro Stadium before joining United in 2011, endured a difficult start to his career in South Yorkshire but emerged as an influential figure, scoring 11 goals including pivotal strikes against the likes of Fulham and Nottingham Forest, following the 48-year-old’s appointment eight months ago.
“I do feel an obligation towards the people here,” Porter told The Star. “But I think people are starting to see more of what I’m really about.
“For the first couple of seasons it just didn’t really happen for me and I’m not entirely sure of the reasons why but perhaps it had something to do with the fact I signed coming off the back of a bad injury whereas I’m fully fit now.
“There’s a massive difference with the fans as well. Towards the end (of last season) there were a lot of jokes flying around about me going to the World Cup in Brazil and stuff like that.
“It was all good banter and, to be honest, it made me feel a lot more wanted and was a big help with regards to confidence.”
Porter, aged 30, was Clough’s first signing after taking charge of County midway through the 2008/09 campaign. But, after scoring three times in his first six appearances for the Midlands outfit, fitness issues, including a niggling hip complaint, curtailed his progress.
“The gaffer knows me and I know how the gaffer likes to work,” Porter, whose returns in front of goal last term were his best for five years, said. “I’m really lucky that he’s my manager again.
“When he brought me down to Derby (from Motherwell) he obviously saw something in me and, although injuries are out of a player’s control, I didn’t get the chance to repay him for that there so that’s what I aim to do now.
“The aim is to try and score more goals and finish next season as top goalscorer.”
United’s decision to review Porter’s long-term future next summer ensures the striker, who started his career at Bury before arriving at Fir Park via Oldham Athletic, has been rewarded for his efforts under Clough’s tutelage but also provided with plenty of incentive to impress.
Porter, whose team mate Ben Davies also put pen to paper on a one year deal yesterday, added: “This is a massive year for me because I want to do well and earn something else here again afterwards.”