Blades’ Clough refuses to close door on Blackstock

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough
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Manager Nigel Clough has refused to rule out the possibility of Dexter Blackstock signing on loan for Sheffield United before next week’s emergency loan deadline.

Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce revealed earlier this week that striker Blackstock had turned down a move to Bramall Lane, but Clough hopes his patience and persistence pays off - with Brighton’s Chris O’Grady still his number one target, ahead of the deadline on Thursday.

“There are a couple of names that we keep contacting clubs about, pestering them,” Clough admitted.

“It’s frustrating but that’s the way it is in football. There’s no point in us taking any old player, though - they have to be of a certain quality and standard to improve the team. Even without this striker coming in, I think we have had a pretty good run of results but we need to get one in to improve us even further.”

Asked about Blackstock’s decision to remain at the City Ground, Clough added: “It’s his prerogative to stay at Forest. I know Stuart wants to get him out and play some games.

“Ideally, players want to stay in the same league they are in. They don’t want to drop down, even to a club this size.

“But we keep asking and will go back next week and see if he has changed his mind. As the week goes on, and it gets closer to the window closing on Thursday, it may change.

“I don’t think it’s that players don’t want to play, they just want to play at that certain level.

“I can understand that. What the fear is, they drop down, say it doesn’t go so well and people will say they are struggling in League One. Then a Championship club might not fancy them.

“You just keep asking. Clubs are worried about injuries, whether in games or training, and leaving themselves short.”

Clough admitted that United are playing a similar game with teenage striker Diego De Girolamo, who impressed on loan at League Two side York City before returning to Bramall Lane.

“We have the same thing with Diego,” Clough said.

“As soon as we get one in, or the other injured two [Marc McNulty and Michael Higdon] are fit, then Diego can go back and get some experience at York.

“We have said the first chance we get, he can go, but while he is the matchday 18 - and he will be against Oldham - we can’t do it.

“As soon as Higdon and McNulty are fit - even if we don’t bring anyone else in - he can go and get some experience.

“He had a great few weeks there, got some goals, and ideally we didn’t want to break it, but we had to.”

Clough is looking forward to a reunion with Oldham boss Lee Johnson, who played under him at Derby County.

“He used to torment us when he was at Yeovil and we were at Burton, too, and they used to beat us most games,” Clough smiled.

“Oldham are bright like him, and they get the ball down and play like he used to.

“He’s done well at Oldham. It’s a great first job for him and they’re in a rich vein of form.

“So it should be a good game.”