Sheffield United: Defender’s debt of gratitude to Clough

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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John Brayford has revealed he joined Sheffield United to repay a debt of gratitude owed to Nigel Clough, writes James Shield.

The Cardiff City defender, who is scheduled to spend the rest of the season on loan at Bramall Lane, told The Star he felt obliged to reject approaches from Championship clubs in favour of a move to South Yorkshire after crediting the United manager with kick-starting his professional career.

Brayford, previously of Burton Albion and Derby County, admitted: “As soon as I heard Nigel wanted me to come here it was out of the question that I’d knock him back.

“He’s been a massive influence and was the person who gave me an opportunity in the game during his time in charge of Burton so I was never going to turn him down because it was important to say thanks.

“I had opportunities to go to teams a division above and, I’m not going to lie, if it had been anyone else asking me to go into League One then I’d have had to give it a lot of thought.

“But it wasn’t. It was Nigel who asked me and, not only is this a chance to play for him again, but also at what I’d call a proper, traditional club.”

Brayford, who made his United debut during Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Fulham, was being courted by Ipswich Town and AFC Bournemouth before transferring to South Yorkshire last week. One of three new signings processed by United on Friday, the 26-year-old is expected to make his second appearance against Peterborough tomorrow night.

Brayford joined City during the close season after resurrecting his partnership with Clough at the iPro Stadium in 2010.

“I’ve also got to thank Cardiff for allowing me to come here,” Brayford said. “Because, ideally, they’d have probably preferred me to go into the Championship.

“But they knew how much this meant to me and I’m delighted they enabled everything to go through smoothly.”