Nigel Clough has confirmed he wants to keep John Brayford and Conor Coady next season, writes James Shield.
Despite admitting it will be “difficult” to retain the on-loan duo’s services, the Sheffield United manager is preparing to hold talks with their parent clubs in an attempt to convince them the players would benefit from another spell at Bramall Lane.
Brayford, who arrived from Cardiff City earlier this term, has previously worked under Clough at Burton Albion and Derby County while Liverpool midfielder Coady was signed by the former England international’s predecessor David Weir.
“In an ideal world we’ve love them to stay,” Clough said. “For a number of different factors, we probably wouldn’t be looking at permanents but, you never know, there might be a chance of securing similar agreements again.
“Both clubs have done us a big favour by letting us get them on the type of deals we have. And, quite rightly, they are the ones who are going to have the final say on all of this.”
Clough, whose team return to League One action against Brentford tonight, also revealed negotiations with County about extending Kieron Freeman’s temporary contract are scheduled to begin ahead of this weekend’s meeting with Leyton Orient.
Weir joined Mark Warburton’s staff at Griffin Park after leaving United in October. Coady enters the contest having scored five goals since the turn of the year and recently extended his stay until the end of the present campaign.
“We think Conor has come on leaps and bounds in recent months,” Clough said. “Hopefully that might count for something, you never know, because Liverpool will want him to continue developing and we think he’s done that.”
Brayford is again expected to feature at centre-half after deputising for Harry Maguire, who will return from suspension against Orient, at Swindon Town three days ago. Jose Baxter and Stefan Scougall are scheduled to undergo fitness tests this morning after both sustained injuries during a 2-1 defeat which left United 10th in the table - seven points behind sixth-placed Peterborough - with eight matches remaining.