Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough admits he has not given up hope of persuading striker Chris O’Grady to make a return to Bramall Lane this month.
O’Grady, the former Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham and Barnsley striker, had a spell on loan at United cut short last month when he was recalled by Brighton and Hove Albion.
He subsequently scored in Brighton’s 2-0 FA Cup win at Brentford last weekend - but Clough, who pursued O’Grady when he left Barnsley, remains optimistic.
“I haven’t spoken to Chris personally, but Mal [Brannigan, managing director] is in dialogue with his counterpart at Brighton, so things are progressing. But we’ll have to be patient as we’re back to where we were about six weeks ago, because we’ll have to wait until Brighton get a striker in before they let Chris go again.
“The intention all along was for Chris to stay here for a longer period. It wasn’t ideal that he got on and scored in the FA Cup, of course! But we were delighted for the lad himself.
“We’re still hoping that we will be able to get him back this month.”
Clough, whose side enhanced their reputation as giant killers last weekend by knocking Premier League side Queens Park Rangers out of the FA Cup, return to league action this weekend against Preston - the club they will face in the fourth round.
“Chris knows we want him and how we feel about him,” the United manager added.
“We’ve been chasing him for about six months but he is their player and unless Brighton say otherwise, we’ll have to live with that.”
O’Grady, who scored once in his loan spell at United, added: “I perform best for people who believe in me, and Nigel Clough has been a big part of that.
“I’m not sure where my future lies. I’m a professional and if I have a job to do at Brighton, then I will do it.”