Chris Wilder says Mark Duffy and Chris Hussey, who last night became Sheffield United’s first summer signings, possess all the attributes potential targets must demonstrate before earning moves to Bramall Lane.
Duffy, who was named in the Professional Footballers’ Association League One Team of the Year after helping Burton Albion reach the Championship last season, arrives on a free transfer after leaving Birmingham City. Hussey commanded an undisclosed fee following his move from Bury.
“We’re delighted to bring Mark and Chris here,” Wilder said. “They’re both quality players and, importantly, have demonstrated the right attitude and desire. They’ve got the right characters.”
Duffy, aged 30, predominately operates as a winger but was often deployed in the number 10 role by former Albion manager Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink. The Liverpudlian represented Doncaster Rovers before joining City and worked with Alan Knill, Wilder’s assistant, during a previous spell at Scunthorpe United.
“The size of the club, speaking to the manager and Knilly, everything just felt right,” Duffy said. “They didn’t have to sell Sheffield United to me. It just felt right.
“Sheffield United have spent too long in this division so the aim next season is to get up. He (Wilder) has spoken to me about his plans, about the calibre of people he wants to bring in and it sounds great. It’s just the whole package really for me.”
Hussey, who started his career with AFC Wimbledon, was a member of the Bury team which triumphed 3-1 at Bramall Lane in September. The 27-year-old Londoner made 50 appearances for David Flitcroft’s side and arrived at Gigg Lane following a short stint with Albion.
“I’m really excited about coming here,” Hussey said. “Who wouldn’t want to play at a ground like this? For a club like this and in front of a crowd like this? For me, it’s a real challenge and the type of challenge that I like, trying to impress and achieve in front of a huge support.”
Wilder, who took charge of United when Nigel Adkins was sacked last month, yesterday revealed details of the criteria potential recruits must fulfil before being considered for moves to United. They include “hunger”, “attitude” and, crucially in the case of Duffy and Hussey, a “knowledge of what it takes to be a success in this division.”
Hussey featured for Albion during the 2014 League Two play-off final against Fleetwood Town before helping Bury claw themselves out of the fourth tier 12 months later.
“We’ll be working all summer to get this right,” Wilder, a former United player, said. “It will take a little bit of time but we know the type of people we want here, the type of attitudes, including from those already at the club.”