Sheffield United: Clough offers new deals

Chris Porter could remain with Sheffield United next season � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Chris Porter could remain with Sheffield United next season � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Ben Davies and Chris Porter have both been invited to remain with Sheffield United next season as Nigel Clough, the League One club’s manager, begins re-profiling his first team squad, writes James Shield.

Clough, speaking at Bramall Lane yesterday, also confirmed that contract negotiations aimed at extending the stays of Mark Howard and Bob Harris are ongoing while talks with Tottenham Hotspur defender Kevin Stewart have reached an advanced stage.

Davies, whose contract at Derby County expires this summer, spent three months on loan with United last term while Porter scored 11 goals in 36 appearances after being recalled to South Yorkshire following a brief spell with Chesterfield.

“We’d like to extend Mark’s deal. Perhaps with something a little bit longer than the option we have already got on him and we’ll be taking-up the same thing on Bob,” Clough, who signed Harris on a short-term basis from Blackpool, said. “We’ll see if we can put an extra year on it or something like that.

“On top of that, we’ll be putting something to Ben. He fits in with the rest of the lads, he fills a variety of different positions and he gets the odd goal but he might also receive approaches from elsewhere, you just don’t know.”

“With Chris, we’ll also be offering him something,” Clough added. “But it might not be the option that we have on him.”

Those words suggest that United are attempting to renegotiate the terms of Porter’s agreement before publishing their released and retained list, which will contain several members of last year’s Professional Development League side, next week.

As The Star revealed seven days ago, Stewart also features on Clough’s wanted-list after impressing the former England international on trial.

Darryl Westlake is also expected to be among those departing United ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.

“We’re just about there with regards to who we’ll be keeping and who we won’t,” Clough said. “We’ve spoken with everyone concerned.

“We’ve released a few of the under-21’s to make room for the crop of youngsters we’ve got coming through here. The academy had a lot of success last season and we want those lads to all be in the under-21’s next season.”

Clough also shed further light on why he had chosen to release Matt Hill earlier this week.

Admitting it was a “very difficult decision” to allow Hill to leave, Clough said: “We had to make room for some of those younger lads coming through but it wasn’t an easy thing to do.

“Matt has been an absolute pleasure to work with during the six months that we’ve been here. He really has.

“That’s why we’ll do what we can to help him get fixed up elsewhere.

“Matt’s attitude and approach to his work was always exemplary. But we just needed the make the room.”

Meanwhile, James Beattie and Stuart McCall have been added to the list of names set to appear in a charity fundraiser at Bramall Lane later this month.

The duo will join Chris Morgan, Dave Kitson, Rob Hulse, Curtis Woodhouse and Georges Santos in the Sheffield United Legends squad which faces a team of television celebrities on May 18 (Kick-off 1pm).

McCall, now manager of Scottish Premier League club Motherwell, made 90 appearances for United between 2002 and 2005 while Beattie, who guided Accrington Stanley to League Two safety last term, scored 34 goals during two spells in South Yorkshire.

Proceeds from the event, which has also attracted support from the likes of David Holdsworth and Craig Short, will be donated to the once Upon and Smile Foundation and Prostate Cancer UK.

Tickets, priced £6 (adults) and £1 (under-16’s), are available from the Bramall Lane box office, at www.sufc.co.uk or by telephoning 08719951889 during office hours.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1