Billy in line for the Lane turn

Loan success: Billy Clarke shone in his first stint at Bramall Lane
Loan success: Billy Clarke shone in his first stint at Bramall Lane
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BLACKPOOL will consider sending Billy Clarke back to Bramall Lane if he fails to win a place in the Championship club’s starting 11 before Christmas.

The former Republic of Ireland under-21 international spent a productive spell on loan at Sheffield United earlier this season but, despite registering one goal and five assists during his month-long stay in South Yorkshire, has enjoyed only 15 minutes of football since returning to Bloomfield Road nearly five weeks ago.

With Blackpool disbanding their reserves after being relegated from the Premier League last term, it means manager Ian Holloway is likely to engineer another temporary switch unless Clarke’s first-team prospects improve.

“If nothing changes then it seems almost certain Billy will be allowed to go out again,” a source told The Star. “He did well at Sheffield United and enjoyed himself there.

“Blackpool have a good relationship with United and they prefer doing business with clubs they get along with so that counts for a lot.

“Plenty can change but if Billy does look for a loan again that could be the first choice.”

Although it is unclear whether Danny Wilson is still in the market for attacking reinforcements, the United manager has made no attempt to disguise his admiration for Clarke’s talents.

Wilson recently admitted that James Beattie’s arrival had “negated” the need to pursue other potential lines of enquiry before the recent deadline for emergency loan signings.

Beattie is contracted to United until

January after reducing his pay demands following an injury-hit stint with Rangers.

Wilson hopes Beattie will agree a longer contract when he proves his fitness but, finances permitting, is likely to be tempted by the possibility of working with Clarke once again.