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Club News

Competition for places

15 February 2014

Nigel Clough is pleased to have 'healthy competition' for places throughout the Blades squad at the present time.

Michael Doyle is available following a three-match suspension at the weekend, whilst goalkeeper Mark Howard has kept consecutive clean sheets having replaced George Long between the sticks for the last two matches.

Of the Irishman and the battle for the number one jersey, Clough remarked: "We put a lot of emphasis on getting a good skipper and we see no reason to ever doubt Michael as a leader.

"Mark (Howard) deserves his chance, people forget how young George (Long) is and he will benefit from a rest.

"He will probably learn more from the sidelines, taking two steps back and just taking stock, let's not forget he played all summer with England too, so George is perhaps a bit mentally tired.

"Mark has never had a serious run of games to prove himself, we just felt the time was probably right now with his contract up at the end of the season. He has a real presence but we need to see what he is capable of."

Looking ahead to the possibility of reinforcing the options at his disposal by dipping into the loan market, the manager added: "We have healthy competition throughout the team at the moment and from back to front that is excellent news with the schedule ahead.

"We have focused loan targets, we hope to look at doing something next week, if we can't for whatever reason then we might to reassess our targets, but we have enquired about a midfielder and a striker, so let's see what develops."

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