Sheffield United: Clough expects Hull to be back

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire
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Nigel Clough has cast doubt on Steve Bruce’s claims that Hull City are no longer interested in Harry Maguire.

As The Star predicted on Saturday, officials at the KC Stadium were preparing to announce they were withdrawing from the race to sign the Sheffield United centre-half with Bruce, Clough’s counterpart in East Yorkshire, issuing a statement to this effect later that afternoon.

But, aware of the politiking and jockeying for position which are part and parcel of modern football, Clough believes City will attempt to reopen negotiations towards the end of the transfer window.

“It might be August 31 when it’s dead and buried,” Clough, the United manager, said. “Often these things go right down to the wire.

“The clubs have had discussions. They comprise of what they are willing to pay and how much we feel he is worth.

“The Premier League clubs often try to bully to rest of us by using their money and financial clout. It might reach a stage when it becomes a worthwhile deal for us to do because Harry only has a year left on his contract but we’ve not reached that stage yet.”

United have rejected bids worth an initial £1.5 million and £2m from City, with Mal Branningan, their managing director, insisting that Clough is under no pressure to sell despite Maguire’s decision to postpone talks over a new contract.

“I don’t think it is dead and buried yet,” Clough added.

“Talks are still going on between the two clubs and we’ll see what transpires.”

Meanwhile, James Wallace has embarked upon an intensive treatment programme as he battles to be fit for the start of the League One season.

The Sheffield United midfielder, a summer signing from Tranmere Rovers, has missed the first three fixtures of his new club’s warm-up programme after sustaining an injury at its Redtooth Academy training complex.

With less than a fortnight remaining before next month’s opener against Bristol City, manager Nigel Clough revealed Wallace is unlikely to take part in tomorrow’s meeting with Huddersfield Town and, most likely, Thursday’s prestige visit of Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

“James is a little bit behind everyone else,” Clough told The Star. “So he knows that he’s got to catch up, and it’s our job to help him.”

Wallace struggled for fitness during his final 12 months at Prenton Park but Clough insisted his latest issue, while being related to those problems, is not a repeat of the unjuries which stunted his otherwise impressive progress in the North-west.

“It’s a hangover from that more than anything else,” Clough added.

“But James is working hard to try and be ready.”