SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades coach Chris Morgan says he’s ‘delighted’ for defender Terry Kennedy

Terry Kennedy
Terry Kennedy

One established a reputation at Sheffield United as a tough, uncompromising central defender. The other is hoping to do exactly the same.

And while it is a little far-fetched to imagine Chris Morgan sporting a collection of tattoos like Terry Kennedy’s, the two Barnsley-born defenders have a lot in common.

Which is why Morgan, the United captain-turned-coach, was full of praise for United’s U21 skipper, who made his first appearance of the season at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday and produced a near-faultless performance in a 3-0 FA Cup win.

Kennedy, who has suffered a series of troubling knee problems since making his senior debut for United, later admitted that the game - which pitted him against Bobby Zamora and in-form England hopeful Charlie Austin - was the best moment of his life.

And Morgan added: “Like Marc [McNulty] and Jamal [Campbell-Ryce], who scored our goals, I thought Terry was excellent out there.

“I was delighted for him, too. He’s had his share of injury problems but he’s got the heart of a lion. And when they started going long at the end to Zamora, that suits Tel right down to the ground.

“But Jay [McEveley] at the side of him was a calming influence. He was the experienced one, the older head, if you like, and they both did really well, as did Flynny [Ryan Flynn] at right back and Bob Harris, who bounced back well after a poor game at Port Vale on Boxing Day. To a man, they were all excellent.”

Kennedy was the skipper of the United side which reached the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2011 and could keep his place this weekend, when third-placed Preston North End visit Bramall Lane for a mouthwatering League One contest.

READ MORE:

A year of cup upsets - a look over United’s high ranking conquests

Chris Basham still has two games of his three-match suspension to serve, and Paddy McCarthy has returned to Crystal Palace - although he was not even on the bench as Alan Pardew’s side beat Dover Athletic in the FA Cup.

“Cups have brought the best out of us,” Morgan, who insisted United have not yet given up hope of gatecrashing the automatic promotion places, added.

“We know if we play like we did at QPR, week in, week out, then we’re good enough to be in the top two.

“We haven’t had the results we needed but we’ve actually been quite happy with performances in the league, of late.

“But what we haven’t been doing is killing teams off. Then, they’ve been getting the odd chances and punishing us for that. But against QPR we got that second goal. One then two. That enabled us to go on and get the third.

“That’s what we’ve got to take into the league. But the lads know that. We tell them, but we don’t really need to.

“We ask them: if we can do it against the likes of Southampton and QPR, then why can’t we do it against Port Vale, Leyton Orient and the rest?

“Or against Preston this Saturday. Straight away, we’ve got to look at that because it’s a massive game.

“All the focus now is straight on that. From the players’ point of view, they know they’ve got to be mentally at it.”

Campbell-Ryce, meanwhile, paid tribute to United manager Nigel Clough after United claimed their fifth Premier League scalp in the last 12 months at Loftus Road: “It’s down to belief,” he said.

“And that comes from the manager. He tells us there’s nothing to fear - we’re 11 men out there, just like them.”

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from Bramall Lane