Jay McEveley has urged Paddy McCarthy to stay with Sheffield United after his loan from Crystal Palace expired.
Nigel Clough, the United manager, is scheduled to hold a fresh round of talks with McCarthy later this week in an attempt to persude the Dublin born defender to remain at Bramall Lane.
Although McCarthy has previously expressed concerns about being separated from his family in London, McEveley told The Star: “We’re all hoping that Paddy decides to come back because he’s a quality player. You’ve seen that with his performances out there on the pitch and the rest of the lads are doing their bit to try and make sure that’s the case.
“I know he’s got a few things to consider first and that’s completely understandable. Everyone appreciates and knows where he’s coming from on that.
“But I also know that Paddy has really enjoyed himself here over the past few weeks. His performances have reflected that because, if you’re not happy, then you can’t do as well as he’s been out there on the pitch.
“Fingers crossed, that counts for something.”
McEveley, who has forged a strong partnership with McCarthy since being switched to centre-half, added: “There are a few of us who often stay in the hotel at the ground a few nights a week and, when we’ve been going out for some food, we always make sure Paddy comes with us. Michael (Higdon) and myself have been doing that.
“It’s important that you make sure new people here feel welcome. Paddy has fitted in really well and is one of the lads in the dressing room behind the scenes.”
Clough has received the green light from Neil Warnock, his counterpart at Selhurst Park, to extend United’s arrangement with McCarthy until January. However, speaking after Saturday’s defeat by Barnsley, which ended his side’s six match unbeaten run in all competitions, the former England international indicated that United’s involvement in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and the FA Cup could force them to delay finalising the proposed deal.
“A lot will depend on whether we get permission to play Paddy in the Cup,” Clough said. “Our next two games are in the FA Cup and JPT.
“The Doncaster Rovers game in the league after that is in doubt because of international call-ups. So it could be three weeks until our next league game. That’s something we’ve also got to factor in.”
“Paddy, though, knows we want him to stay,” Clough added. “Neil has been superb with everything and we’ll sit down and have a good chat with Paddy about absolutely everything over the next couple of days.”
United slipped to eighth in the League One table when Sam Winnall scored the only goal of Saturday’s South Yorkshire derby with Danny Wilson’s side.
Clough attributed the hosts’ demise to their “attention to detail in the final third,” and McEveley said: “We’re gutted that we lost that because we came off the pitch knowing it shouldn’t have been the case. We should definitely have taken more from that because, in my opinion, we were easily the better team.
“What makes it even more frustrating is that, if we’d done that, we’d have gone up to third. But we’ll dust ourselves down and look to go on another strong run. That’s what you’ve got to do and it’s what being a footballer is all about.”