Former Sheffield United target Matt Clarke reveals why he signed for Blades' promotion rivals West Brom, on loan from Brighton

Matt Clarke, the former Sheffield United target, says he wanted to sign for their Championship promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion as soon as the Baggies’ interest became apparent.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 11:42 am

Clarke, a left-sided defender in a similar mould to United’s injured star Jack O’Connell, emerged as a player of interest for the Blades when Phil Jagielka left in the summer, with continued uncertainty about Kean Bryan and O’Connell’s availability.

Brighton and Hove Albion, Clarke’s parent club, were initially thought to be open to a permanent move for the former Portsmouth defender, who is yet to play a Premier League game for the Seagulls.

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But he instead yesterday joined Valérien Ismaël’s Albion on loan, further strengthening one of the Blades’ promotion rivals ahead of the start of the new season early next month.

“As soon as I heard Albion were interested in me, that was the option I wanted to pursue,” Clarke said.

“I met the manager and he spoke about his philosophy and what he wants to do and where I might fit into all that. It’s up to me now to get up to full speed and hopefully be a use to him throughout the season.

Matt Clarke challenges former Blades striker Ched Evans, now of Preston (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“Everyone has to be pushing each other if you want to win promotion. You can’t afford to take your foot off the gas. If everyone is working towards the same goal then the team is going to be a lot stronger for it.

“You have to perform every day in training. I’m a confident player and I try to be consistent every day. I really hope I can do well here and the target this season has to be promotion.”