Local lad back to face PNE

Preston lad Harrison McGahey joined the Blades from Blackpool in the summer
Preston lad Harrison McGahey joined the Blades from Blackpool in the summer
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THE trip to Preston North End for Sheffield United centre-half Harrison McGahey will be a familiar one tomorrow.

McGahey, 18, hails from the city and played kids’ football for Red Rose Juniors.

Until July he was a Blackpool player, coming through their youth ranks to break into the first team.

But he was part of the mass summer exodus from Bloomfield Road, the Blades signing him after his Pool contract ran out.

McGahey has featured in all of the Bramall Lane club’s games this season, starting five of them and coming off the bench in the other.

On Tuesday night, he was in the centre of defence with ex-PNE player Neill Collins as United knocked West Ham out of the Capital One Cup on penalties after the contest had finished in a 1-1 draw.

Blades boss Nigel Clough admitted that he was signing potential rather than the end product when McGahey crossed the Pennines.

Clough said: “A number of the coaching staff watched Harrison at the end of last season and he has potential – that’s what we see in him.

“He will admit that he is not the finished article but we are delighted that he has chosen to join us to aid his development.

“Harrison is a big, strong defender and there are a number of similar characters at Bramall Lane, from whom he can learn his trade.”

McGahey’s arrival formed part of a busy summer in the transfer market for Clough.

Eleven players have joined the South Yorkshire outfit since the end of last season.

On the flip side of the coin, the Blades sold talented centre-half Harry Maguire to Hull City for £2.5m.

There is a chance that he could return on loan though.

Other arrivals have included striker Michael Higdon from Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, Walsall centre-half Andy Butler and Chris Basham,who like McGahey, made the move from Blackpool.

Two other new boys, Iain Turner and Jay McEveley, both have PNE connections.

Goalkeeper Turner had an 18-month stay at Deepdale, first on loan from Everton and then signing on a permanent deal.

He joined United earlier in the month after a spell out of the game.

Left-back McEveley spent time on loan with Preston in the 2009/10 season and has more recently been at Swindon.

Clough’s men appear to have got themselves going after a slow start to the season.

They were beaten 2-1 at home by Bristol City on the opening day.

After a 2-1 victory over Mansfield in the Capital One Cup, United lost their next game 1-0 at Coventry.

Their first league points came via a 2-1 win at Peterborough, and they followed that up by beating Crawley 1-0 last week.

Then in midweek came their shoot-out success over West Ham.

Naturally, Clough was a happy man after the Upton Park win but he still thinks there is work to do. Clough said: “We are nowhere near where we want to be as a team yet.

“We know we’ve been a little bit disjointed so far but hopefully that performance will have encouraged the fans as much as it did us.”