Sheffield United: Blades scored major transfer victory

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Sheffield United fought off competition from Brentford to sign Chris Basham, The Star can reveal, after Nigel Clough warned their promotion rivals he aims to construct a squad capable of becoming a force to be reckoned with at Championship level.

But Clough, whose players have been installed as early favourites to lift the League One title next term, insisted his words should not be interpreted as a sign that complacency will be tolerated behind the scenes.

Confirming he will punish anyone suspected of taking results for granted when United begin the new season with a home tie against Bristol City on August 9, Clough said: “The priority is to get out of this division. But we want to try and do that in such a way whereby we don’t have to go out and change eleven players should we achieve promotion.

“Consistency is important and you want as strong a core to the group as possible. We’ve brought in players who had opportunities a division above so that tells you that other people think they’ve got the quality to compete there.”

“First things first, though, we want to try and have a real good go at getting up,” Clough said. “That is our only aim right now and nothing must be allowed to distract us from that because everyone knows what a tough league this is.”

Clough, who wants to recruit a new centre-forward ahead of the meeting with Steve Cotterill’s side, scored another victory in the transfer market when former Tranmere Rovers captain James Wallace rejected Barnsley in favour of a move to Bramall Lane while Andy Butler, previously of Huddersfield Town, is known to have interested several Championship clubs before joining United from Walsall.