Ryan Flynn could be set for an extended run at full-back after Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, insisted he possesses the skills required to become a “first class defender.”
But Flynn, who despite being a winger has deputised for the injured Craig Alcock in recent weeks, was last night warned not to curb his attacking instincts should Bramall Lane’s coaching staff decide to continue with the experiment.
Clough told The Star: “Ryan has certainly got the capability to perform that role. There’s no doubt about that whatsoever.
“How long he stays there for we’ll have to wait and see but we’re not surprised with how well he’s done because we actually had a chat about putting Ryan there over the summer. We decided not to go ahead with it then but we knew he’d be able to handle it.”
“Actually, the way we play, Ryan is probably able to get forward nearly much as usual,” Clough added. “That’s something we actually want him to do.
“Whatever happens, it’s nice to know that we’ve got another option because we’re going to have a lot of games coming-up and, inevitably, there will be times when we have to change things around a bit.”
United will discover later this week if Alcock, who has been nursing a back problem since last month’s draw with Oldham Athletic, will be eligible for selection at Fleetwood Town on Saturday. The fixture, their first ever visit to Highbury, could see Clough’s squad close the gap between themselves and the automatic promotion positions to four points ahead of a festive fixture programme which also sees them compete in both the FA and Capital One cups.
United host Southampton in the quarter-finals of the latter next week and Clough said: “We know that Chris Basham is very comfortable at centre-half and also in midfield. There are other players at the back who are also in good form at the moment and that could, potentially, make things a little bit easier.
“There are going to be lots of demands put on the lads over Christmas but that’s the price you pay for doing well. At least we know we’ve got some flexibility there to help us cope.”