Sheffield United: Nigel Clough sees Blades progress

Nigel Clough
Clough has guided Sheffield United into the fourth round of the League Cup, after wins over Mansfield, West Ham and Leyton Orient

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough believes recent results show the Blades are making steady progress in their fight to return to the Championship.

Beating Gillingham last week saw United climb to seventh in League One.

"Everybody has to be patient and think where we were 12 months ago, bottom of the league," said Clough.

"We've lost two or three games, but generally we've had good signs. We're not there yet, so it's nice to be picking up results."

Clough told BBC Radio Sheffield the steady return to fitness of summer signings, including midfielder James Wallace, signed from Tranmere, and striker Michael Higdon, bought from Nijmegen, was beginning to have an impact.

"James Wallace is not there yet, he's not 100%, but I think we're starting to see the potential he has got," he said. "We were very happy when we signed him and it's been a problem that we haven't had him available so far.

"We think he's a good player, and if we can get him 100% fit, like Stefan Scougall, they'll be two good players to have. Michael Higdon is showing signs of getting up to speed as well, it's just time and patience.

"Ideally you'd have everybody signed in May and June and then have five or six weeks pre-season under their belts, but football doesn't work like that."

Clough at Sheffield United
Nigel Clough has won 29 and lost only 11 of his 53 games in charge at Sheffield United, following his appointment in October 2013.

However, Clough said the determination to keep going to the final whistle, evident in the number of late goals the Blades have scored this season, should always be present.

"The desire shouldn't take time, and we hope it's there in the characters we bring in," explained Clough. "It's the other side of it, understanding and the pattern of play, that takes time. But when you're scoring late goals it does wonders. You never ever give in. We keep going right to the end and sometimes that's when teams are at their most vulnerable."

Clough also confirmed that the club hopes to confirm a defensive loan signing in time for Saturday's match against Chesterfield.

"It will be a good atmosphere and a tough game," he said. "I thought it was telling Chesterfield didn't bring too many players in the summer after getting promoted, the manager has confidence in the players he has.

"They've built up their team and I think they're relishing life in League One - they've proved already they're a match for anyone in this league."