Chris Hughton, the Brighton and Hove Albion manager, has confirmed Sheffield United want to sign Chris O’Grady on a permanent basis, writes James Shield.
The centre-forward made four appearances after joining Nigel Clough’s side on loan earlier this season before being recalled to The AMEX Stadium following Sami Hyypia’s departure last month.
United, who yesterday ended speculation surrounding Chris Porter’s future by terminating the 31-year-old’s contract, are ready to pay an undisclosed six figure sum to secure O’Grady’s services but Hughton said: “Yes, there is an interest from Sheffield United, yes they would like to take him.
“But he is very much our player at the moment, so unless anything dramatically changes he is still our player.”
Despite Hughton’s decision to offer O’Grady an olive branch following his impressive display against Ipswich Town in midweek, sources at Albion privately concede the player has struggled to settle in Sussex after arriving from Barnsley during the close season.
Hughton bolstered the attacking options at his disposal by recruiting Leon Best on loan until the end of the present campaign and handed the Blackburn Rovers marksman his debut on Wednesday evening.
“It was nice for Leon to get that first run-out. That’s why I’ve brought him here,” Hughton continued. “He hasn’t had a lot of football, that is what he has come here for, to have an involvement in the squad.
“But I thought Chris O’Grady was excellent in his work-rate and endeavours for the team. We are looking in all positions.”
Porter, meanwhile, agreed an 18 month contract with Colchester after servering his ties with Bramall Lane. He scored 23 goals in 69 starts for Nigel Clough’s side.
“It’s been frustrating not playing at Sheffield United because I signed a new contract in the summer,” Porter said. “This is the first time I’ve moved south, so it’s a big move for me.”