Jose Baxter has been issued with a detailed set of instructions about what he must do to command a regular place in Sheffield United’s starting eleven, writes James Shield.
Nigel Clough, the League One club’s manager, made the admission after praising Baxter’s contribution during last weekend’s draw with Leyton Orient.
“Jose was due a game,” Clough told The Star. “We’ve been pleased with how he’s performed in training and he definitely gives you another option.
“To be fair to Jose, he’s absolutely worked his socks off out there and also during the week. We know his ability so it’s just about the work-rate.”
Baxter has been used sparingly since Clough’s appointment in October but was recalled for Saturday’s visit to the Matchroom Stadium. The former Everton and Oldham Athletic midfielder was instrumental in the move which saw Conor Coady edge United in front before Dean Cox’s late equaliser ensured the game ended in stalemate.
The result, which lifted United out of the relegation zone and saw Orient wrestle top spot from Wolverhampton Wanderers, means Clough’s record at the helm now reads ‘P7 W3 D2 L2’ ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup tie against either Cambridge United or Bury.
“We’re looking to build confidence and the best way of doing that is by gathering some momentum,” Clough said. “Keeping that is key.”