SHEFFIELD UNITED: Darryl Westlake targets top with Blades

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FULL-back Darryl Westlake hopes to be plying his trade in the top flight come 2015 and is convinced he can fulfil those ambitions with Sheffield United.

It was just over five years ago the Blades slipped out of the Premier League following a 2-1 defeat to Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season.

Numerous managers and players have tried and failed to arrest the downward spiral but things were compounded further when the club suffered relegation to League One in 2011.

Although Danny Wilson steered United to the play-off final three months ago, having won several accolades and plaudits for introducing a more attractive, easy on the eye brand of football, the team lost 8-7 to Huddersfield Town on penalties.

But despite that disappointment, Westlake, who moved to Bramall Lane from Walsall last month, is confident he and the club can get back to the top.

“That (The Premier League) is a way off at the moment and, first things first, we’ve got to get out of this division,” said the 21-year-old, who has penned a two-year contract, with an option for a third. “The only thing we’ll be focusing on is that.

“But it wasn’t so long ago that we were in the Premier League and so there’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get back again.

“Everything is in place off the pitch. Our job, as players, is to make sure the same goes on it.”

Although some of the senior members of Wilson’s squad are understandably loath to discuss the previous campaign, Westlake has no such concerns, saying: “I played against United for Walsall last season and they were the best side we faced.

“They deserved to go up but unfortunately didn’t. But we are determined to put that right now.”

Westlake is expected to battle it out with fellow new face Tony McMahon for the vacant right-back slot following the departure of Matthew Lowton.

Meanwhile, Steve Simonsen, released by United in May after missing the decisive spot-kick at Wembley, is reportedly on the verge of joining Preston North End.