Sheffield United: Leon Clarke hoping for Championship chance as Blades look to loan Celtic winger

Leon Clarke is hoping for the chance to impress in the Championship with Sheffield United
Leon Clarke is hoping for the chance to impress in the Championship with Sheffield United
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Leon Clarke hopes he is given an opportunity to silence his critics again next season after backing Sheffield United to flourish in the Championship.

Clarke was named League One player of the month after scoring six times in as many outings as Chris Wilder’s side, who are believed to be monitoring Celtic’s Gary Mackay-Steven, powered towards the title.

Gary Mackay-Steven is believed to be a target for Sheffield United

Gary Mackay-Steven is believed to be a target for Sheffield United

But the centre-forward found himself under intense scrutiny midway through what proved to be a historic campaign after being struck down by injury.

“For me personally, every time I play, it’s a chance to impress and show people who maybe doubted me, that I can score goals,” Clarke said. “It’s a chance for me to impress the manager and my team mates. That’s the most important thing for me.

“Maybe a few people were saying things earlier on and I get that. It happens. But I always know that, when I’m good, I can put the ball in the back of the net. I’m always confident of doing that.”

Clarke, aged 32, is contracted to the club until 2019 and despite acknowledging new faces will arrive over the summer, believes he still has plenty to offer after making 208 second tier appearances since turning professional 14 years ago.

Sheffield United's Leon Clarke came into form at the end of last season

Sheffield United's Leon Clarke came into form at the end of last season

Mackay-Steven is reportedly a loan target for United, who have already signed Ched Evans, Nathan Thomas and Enda Stevens, while Ricky Holmes of Charlton Athletic and Southend’s Ryan Leonard are the subject of confirmed bids.

“We haven’t spoken about next season, we’re just trying to enjoy what’s going on at the moment,” Clarke said. “Obviously there’s going to be ins and outs over the summer. But whoever comes in, they’ll have to adapt to that philosophy.

“If we can keep on winning and keep on getting that backing - there were nearly 30,000 in against Bradford and more for Chesterfield - then who knows what might happen? The place was rocking.

It’s a nice feeling to go up, to win the title, to score and more importantly yo get the win. The manager mentioned us reaching 100 points after we got promoted. It’s definitely something we all want to achieve.”

Leon Clarke celebrates scoring against MK Dons

Leon Clarke celebrates scoring against MK Dons