Sheffield United’s out-of-favour stars could be allowed to depart on loan, manager Nigel Clough has revealed, if they believe being exposed to first team action elsewhere will revitalize their Bramall Lane careers, writes James Shield.
Clough made the admission after both Andy Butler and Chris Porter were omitted from the squad which knocked West Ham out of the Capital One Cup in midweek having also been overlooked for United’s league fixture against Crawley Town five days ago.
Butler’s predicament - he has made just one appearance since arriving from Walsall during the close season - is the subject of particular scrutiny given Clough’s desire to sign another centre-half before next month’s transfer deadline.
Despite insisting that “no one has approached” United’s coaching staff to explore the possibility of arranging a temporary move elsewhere, Clough told The Star: “If somebody came to us and asked if that was a possibility then, yes, it’s something we would of course consider.
“There’s nothing I hate to see more than a player just sitting on the bench but unfortunately, you can’t include everyone in your plans for particular games because we also have to consider the dynamics of the subs we might need. There has to be a balance there too.
“We’ve had a few calls from people asking about situations but nothing really concrete. That could change though, you just never ever know.”
Porter, the former Derby County and Motherwell centre-forward, has previously used the loan market to good effect. Indeed, he credited a spell with Chesterfield last term for inspiring the performances which persuaded Clough to offer him a new contract earlier this summer when his previous deal expired.
“As far as we are concerned, everyone can have a part to play,” Clough said. “And opportunities will always develop because it is a long season with plenty of games.
“We’re not looking to ease anyone out of the door but we’ll consider anything on its merits.”
Clough has gone on record to suggest that recent graduates of United’s Redtooth Academy could benefit from joining rival clubs on loan with goalkeeper George Willis among them. Iain Turner, the former Scotland international, has deputised for Mark Howard since agreeing a short-term contract following his release by Barnsley.