Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has admitted that Danny Wilson’s presence on the touchline will make Barnsley an even more formidable proposition during this afternoon’s South Yorkshire derby, writes James Shield.
Clough delivered his assessment as Wilson prepares to return to Bramall Lane for the first time since parting company with the League One club 19 months ago.
Speaking ahead of a match which pits sixth-placed United against the division’s 15th ranked team, Clough said: “Danny will probably demand even more from his players because of where the game is. That’s usually what happens so we’ve got to be prepared and ready for that.
“There’s going to be a good atmosphere inside the stadium and when there’s a good away following it makes it even hotter still.
“But that’s something we’ve got to relish and feed upon. Be aggressive, win our battles and get on the front foot
“However, while doing all of that, in situations like this it’s important that you also keep a cool head.”
Wilson, who took charge at Oakwell for the second time midway through last season, was unable to prevent the visitors being relegated from the Championship but they have made a solid start to the new campaign.
The former Northern Ireland international led United into the 2012 play-off final at Wembley but they were beaten 8-7 on penalties by Huddersfield Town.
Clough added: “Danny is a good manager, he demonstrated that when he was here. When you look back at what he did, together with the circumstances in which he took over, you’ve got to say he was very unfortunate not to get promoted.”
United, who yesterday confirmed Ryan Flynn has recovered from a troublesome Achilles injury, could climb to third in the table if they stretch their unbeaten run to seven games.
Irrespective of the scoreline, Clough will hold talks with Paddy McCarthy immediately after the match in an effort to renew the central defender’s loan from Crystal Palace.
As The Star revealed yesterday, Neil Warnock has already granted McCarthy permission to extend his agreement with United until January although personal issues could persuade him to return to the capital.
“Neil has been great about the whole thing,” Clough said. “Absolutely brilliant from start to finish and so basically it all boils down to what Paddy himself wants to do.
“We appreciate that we’re a long way from his family in south London but hopefully he’s enjoyed himself here and will want, all things considered, to stay for a while longer.
“We’ll sit down and have a chat after the whistle. Take things from there.”
Meanwhile, Aaron Barry, the former United defender, is facing a race against time to be passed fit for the biggest match of his footballing career.
Barry, who joined Derry City after leaving Bramall Lane earlier this year, has been told that a knee injury could prevent him from featuring against St Patrick’s Athletic during tomorrow’s FAI Ford Cup final at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
“One of the lads with a similar injury to Aaron’s was out for around six weeks recently,” Derry manager Peter Hutton said. “But, given the size of the game, we are trying to get on top of it.”