Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has offered Jose Baxter some words of encouragement as he attempts to become a permanent fixture in the club’s first choice eleven, writes James Shield.
Clough’s predecessor David Weir is understood to have spent over £300,000 acquiring the former Everton protégé’s services earlier this term.
But Baxter, who arrived at Bramall Lane from Oldham Athletic, has not started a game since Clough’s appointment nearly a month ago.
“In the first week or so, Jose didn’t have the best of times in training,” Clough said. “But he has come back in the last month or so and done well.
“I thought he did well when he came on against Gillingham a week ago. The problem, which we talked about with (manager) Lee Johnson while we were still at Derby before playing Oldham in a cup game earlier this season, is whether Jose is a midfielder or a striker?
“Getting him in a position in a 4-4-2 is a difficult thing. It is a dilemma but he has got ability on the ball without a doubt.”
“He came on at Colchester as a striker and then we brought him on in midfield on Saturday,” Clough added. “We are trying to figure out his best position.”
Clough, who blamed defensive errors for the 2-1 defeat by Peter Taylor’s side, made the admission ahead of tomorrow’s match at Bristol City. Shaun Miller and Chris Porter are again expected to spearhead the visitors’ attack with the latter searching for his third goal in as many outings.
“Chris has scored two in two starts so we will judge him from this point on,” Clough, whose team are 23rd, said. “There is no point on people harking back to previous seasons and saying he didn’t very well then. “We are in the bottom four and we will judge everyone from this point onwards. They’re a nice combination.”