Sheffield United are plotting one final attempt to sign John Brayford during the transfer window, writes James Shield.
The Star understands that Bramall Lane’s hierarchy, who saw an offer for the defender rejected by Cardiff City last week, could make another approach to the Championship club’s board before next month’s deadline for permanent signings.
Although Russell Slade, Nigel Clough’s counterpart in the Welsh capital, informed United he has no intention of parting company with Brayford, the former England international is expected to test his resolve by tabling an improved bid following this weekend’s crucial League One encounter at MK Dons.
The match, which pits sixth versus third in the table, could see the visitors stretch their unbeaten run to three games ahead of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Tottenham Hotspur.
Brayford made 20 appearances for United after joining on loan midway through the 2013/14 campaign and emerged as a driving force behind their march into the last four of the FA Cup nine months ago.
Brighton and Hove Albion centre-forward Chris O’Grady and Gary Mackay-Steven of Dundee United, together with Derby County duo Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts also feature on Clough’s wanted list but securing Brayford’s services would prove a major coup for United as their bid for promotion enters a pivotal phase.
Tannadice’s board of directors are demanding £250,000 for Mackay-Steven, who is also being monitored by Celtic, despite the fact he becomes a free agent this summer.
Brayford, who worked with Clough at Burton Albion before resurrecting their partnership at the iPro Stadium, has been an ever present in Slade’s starting eleven since his appointment as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s permanent successor in October.