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The importance of partnerships

6 August 2014

Nigel Clough is hoping for some consistency in his team selection in the early part of the new Sky Bet League One season.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's opener with Bristol City at Bramall Lane the Gaffer challenged the players to make picking the team easy for him and his backroom staff.

He remarked: "We want that starting XI to put their hands up and says this picks itself.

"We can then concentrate on building crucial partnerships throughout the team from back to front.

"Ideally you want you two centre halves and your goalkeeper to develop a good understanding, likewise the two centrally in midfield and then from there you can build up your attacking options."

The Blades boss, who this week made Michael Higdon his ninth summer signing, is optimistic the Blades have enough firepower to be competitive in the early weeks of the campaign and Clough is also encouraged that he has different types of players he can use together in the final third.

Clough added: "We have options in attack, we can play with a focal point and players working off the striker or we can play with two up there with someone like Marc McNulty or Jamie Murphy running in behind off Michael Higdon and Chris Porter.

"We have been encouraged by Diego (De Girolamo) in pre-season so he potentially gives us a further option having failed to sign Mason Bennett."

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