Sheffield United renew interest in Billy Clarke

Billy Clarke is Crawley Town's top scorer with five goals this season
Billy Clarke is Crawley Town's top scorer with five goals this season
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Struggling Sheffield United have reportedly renewed their interest in Crawley Town’s Billy Clarke as manager Nigel Clough attempts to save their season.

Clough was understood to have wanted to sign the forward during the January transfer window, although Reds boss John Gregory insisted no bid was lodged.

Now the Blades boss has reportedly identified three potential signings, including Crawley’s top scorer Clarke, to bolster his squad for the remaining 19 League One games and try to steer the club out of the relegation places.

Any move would be highly unwelcome by Reds manager Gregory, who has described Clarke as “Crawley’s Lionel Messi”, especially after the loss of key winger Nicky Adams to Rotherham on deadline day.

Clough was quoted on the Sheffield Star website today (Tuesday) as saying: “We’ve been waiting for answers and for one reason or another, which are all entirely understandable, they’ve not been forthcoming from the people involved elsewhere yet.

“We have to be respectful because these players are employed by other clubs. Some wanted to wait until after our cup game and so we’ll see.

“We know who we want but, if nothing happens and nothing is concluded, then we will move on. There are players we are aware of out there.”

Any move for the former Blackpool player at the moment would have to be on loan, at least initially, with the transfer window now closed.

Clarke had a month’s spell on loan at Bramall Lane in 2011, playing five games and scoring once, but is understood to be settled in the south.

Clarke’s contract at Crawley is up at the end of the season but the club have the option to extend it for another season, and Gregory has said before he would make it difficult for the player to leave.