Ward begins the exodus as United rebuild

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SHEFFIELD United have started the process of re-shaping their first-team squad after accepting Derby County’s offer for Jamie Ward.

The former Northern Ireland under-21 international, who moved to Pride Park on loan in February following a difference of opinion with manager Micky Adams, has signed a two-year contract with Nigel Clough’s side which includes a further 12- month option.

With United preparing for life in League One after being relegated from the Championship, Ward is likely to be the first of several high-profile names to leave Bramall Lane during the close season.

Clough, who has also captured Frank Fielding from Blackburn Rovers and Millwall’s Theo Robinson, is understood to have spent around £900,000 acquiring the trio.

“We have stated our desire to keep Frank, Jamie and Theo for some time, so it is nice to be in a position now where we can confirm they will be part of our future,” he said.

“All three of them had been on our radar before they even joined us on loan this season. We’ve managed to get three of our long-term targets tied down very early in the summer, which is a bonus for us.”