Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has expressed disappointment at Derby County’s decision to prevent Mason Bennett from moving to Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.
The former England youth international was poised to join the League One club on a six month loan contract last week but was recalled when team mate Kieron Freeman’s permanent transfer to United collapsed following a dispute over personal terms.
With County insisting both players came as a package, Clough said: “Coming here would have been right for Mason’s development. It just seems a shame that he should suffer because we couldn’t meet the demands of Kieron and his agent.”
Asked why County, where he spent four years in charge before joining United in October, had responded by summoning Bennett back to the iPro Stadium, Clough added: “You’d have to ask them that. That is something they have done, not us.”
Although Clough has asked to be kept informed of any developments regarding Bennett’s future, his predecessor Steve McClaren yesterday insisted there was “no” chance of a deal being resurrected.
“It was important for him to go out and play and I have got five or six clubs just waiting to take Mason,” McClaren said. “He would be a great signing for somebody but he is not going to Sheffield United, no.”
United, who yesterday unveiled Michael Higdon as their latest new signing, are now expected to focus on strengthening their back four after seeing Harry Maguire join Hull City.
“We might look at bringing another forward in but, to be honest, it’s not really our priority right now,” Clough said. “That’s defence because we look a little bit light there after losing Harry.
“There’s a lit we’re looking at - just as there was when we brought Michael in - and it’s about making sure we get the right one.”