Sheffield United: Blades continue striker search

Chris O'Grady features on a "list of names" who could emerge as targets, manager Nigel Clough has confirmed
Chris O'Grady features on a "list of names" who could emerge as targets, manager Nigel Clough has confirmed
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Sheffield United will shortly decide whether to consolidate their interest in Barnsley’s Chris O’Grady as Nigel Clough presses ahead with his search for a new centre-forward, writes James Shield.

O’Grady features on a short-list of names compiled by Clough and his scouting department after the 28-year-old admitted he “did not have a clue” whether he would remain at Oakwell next season.

Although United have yet to indicate whether they will launch a transfer raid on their South Yorkshire rivals, confirmation that O’Grady is viewed as a potential target suggests talks to ascertain whether a deal is possible have already taken place.

Charlton Athletic reportedly agreed a £500,000 fee with Barnsley after expressing their desire to sign the striker last month only for the move to fall through following protracted talks with the player’s representative.

However, sources in London later suggested that concerns about moving to the capital contributed towards O’Grady’s failure to agree personal terms.

Despite signing Marc McNulty and Jamal Campbell-Ryce from Livingston and Notts County respectively, Clough wants to further strengthen United’s attacking options after United averaged only 1.04 goals per game in League One last season.

O’Grady, who has also represented Sheffield Wednesday, Rochdale and Leicester City, has netted 21 times since arriving at Oakwell 17 months ago.

Barnsley, now managed by former United chief Danny Wilson, are thought to be monitoring Plymouth Argyle’s Conor Hourihane as they look to rebuild after being relegated from the Championship.

Hourihane, aged 23, started his career at Sunderland before being transferred to Devon following a spell at Ipswich Town.

The midfielder has been capped by the Republic of Ireland at both under-19 and under-21 level.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Wanderers are ready to sit tight in the battle for Harry Maguire despite learning that Hull City are also keen on the United defender.

Kenny Jackett’s side have seen two offers, worth £1m and £1.5m, rejected by Bramall Lane’s hierarchy this summer but, according to sources at Molineux, have no imminent plans to increase their bid.

Wolves, who are thought to view AFC Bournemouth’s Steve Cook as a possible alternative should Maguire join City or elect to remain with United, recently announced that Richard Stearman has put pen to paper on a new contract.

United have ended their five year association with kitwear manufacturer Macron, managing director Mal Brannigan confirmed yesterday. A new supplier will be unveiled “in due course.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1