Daniel Lafferty wants to use his move to Sheffield United as a springboard back into the big time.
The Northern Ireland defender, who arrived from Premier League club Burnley earlier this week, also refused to rule-out the possibility of staying at Bramall Lane permanently when his season long loan expires.
“Everyone wants to be playing in the top-flight of they can,” Lafferty said. “But game time (at Burnley) has been hard as the finances get bigger. They can afford to go out and spend big, big money on players. So you’ve got to look for opportunities. I want to be back at that level long-term and in the Championship at the very least. Hopefully I can do that here with Sheffield United.”
Lafferty, aged 27, made 16 appearances for League One rivals Oldham Athletic last season after recovering from injury. Despite representing Michael O’Neill’s side against Wales in March, he was subsequently omitted from the squad which travelled to the European Championships due to a lack of playing time at Turf Moor.
“I want to be playing football and this was a fantastic opportunity for me,” Lafferty continued. “I’m buzzing about coming here and can’t wait to get started. Everyone wants to be involved because it creates new pathways and helps me internationally too. If I’m not playing at club level, then I can’t really be involved properly with Northern Ireland. Especially when the lads are doing so well.”
Northern Ireland will be preparing for a World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic when Lafferty, previously of Celtic and Derry City, makes his United debut at Gillingham on Sunday afternoon.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to get back into the qualifiers,” Lafferty said. “That’s only going to happen through performances and game time. I haven’t spoken to the manager (O’Neill) directly but still keep in constant contact with the rest of the lads. It’s going to be a little bit tougher than the Euro’s probably but hopefully we can use that experience.”