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Ciaran Clark issues honest assessment of Sheffield United squad ahead of 2022/23

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Sheffield United came agonisingly close to a trip to Wembley Stadium for the Championship play-off final last season, losing out to Nottingham Forest on penalties at the semi final stage.

The narrowest of defeats should not take away from the enormous positive strides the Blades made under Paul Heckingbottom in 2021/22, and promotion will be the aim from the off in 2022/23.

Anel Ahmedhodzic and Ciaran Clark have been added to a very strong defensive contingent this summer, and the latter, and Newcastle United loanee, is preparing for an intense battle for a place in Heckingbottom’s starting XI.

The 36-time Republic of Ireland international explained what the competition for places in the squad is like when he spoke to The Athletic.

Clark said: “It will be a real fight to start.

“I am new here and still getting used to everything.

“But I knew before I got here the competition would be huge.

“You need that, both for the games but also in training to push each other.

“You can’t get too comfortable because there is always someone there wanting to take your place.”

John Egan, Chris Basham and Jack Robinson have bags of experience in the Championship, and with the Blades for that matter, and they will be tough to dislodge if all three have strong pre-seasons.

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With just one year remaining on his deal at Newcastle, this is a very important loan spell for Clark as far as the rest of his career is concerned.

Potentially heading into next summer as a 33-year-old free agent, promotion or a strong season with the Blades could have the Irishman preparing for a move to the Premier League or the top end of the Championship, whereas on the other hand, an underwhelming campaign could see the no nonsense defender looking down the second tier pecking order or even further south in the pyramid.

Heckingbottom has deployed a back three formation since taking the reins and that should make for more available playing time for Clark, even if he is not first choice to start with.


Passionate Football League obsessive and long-suffering Charlton Athletic supporter.

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Article title: Ciaran Clark issues honest assessment of Sheffield United squad ahead of 2022/23

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