Sheffield United: ‘A panic buy? You’ve got to be joking’

Ben Heneghan with fellow new signing Cameron Carter-Vickers: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Ben Heneghan with fellow new signing Cameron Carter-Vickers: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United began plotting a move for Clayton Donaldson earlier this summer, Chris Wilder has explained, dismissing suggestions they only swooped after failing to sign Fleetwood Town’s Devante Cole.

Donaldson joined United from Championship rivals Birmingham City on transfer deadline day and, together with fellow new arrival Ben Heneghan, could make his debut against Sunderland this weekend.

Clayton Donaldson could make his Sheffield United debut this weekend.

Clayton Donaldson could make his Sheffield United debut this weekend.

Wilder, admitting it was imperative United signed a striker after losing Caolan Lavery to injury, said: “Everybody knew there would be quite a few ins and outs at Birmingham City. So we kept an eye on who might become surplus to requirements.

“I know a lot about Clayton, I’ve tried to sign him three or four times. He started at Hull City, did his groundwork and got his hands dirty in non-league and then has done fantastic in the Championship for the past six or seven years. He’s an honest player, he works his socks off, he stretches the game and he brings a little bit of pace to our team.

“After losing Caolan, it was important we strengthened. He’s been on our radar for quite a while. There were no issues there. He came up, did his medical, agreed terms and that was that”

Donaldson, aged 33, represented the likes of Scarborough, York and Harrogate Town before arriving at St Andrews, via Brentford, in 2014.

Ben Heneghan featured during an under-23 fixture earlier this week: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Ben Heneghan featured during an under-23 fixture earlier this week: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Heneghan, 10 years the centre-forward’s junior, had attracted interest from the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Rangers after entering the closing stages of his deal at Motherwell.

“Ben is a young player,” Wilder said. “He is highly-rated. There was genuine competition for him.

“He’s got a fantastic work ethic, he’s got a good attitude and a desire to learn. He was another on our list. Okay, we might not have gone for him right now but situations and develop and things change. He’ll be a good player for this football club.”