United enjoy Maltese backing

Monday, July 26, 2010, 23:00

by Joshua Cacciatolo

Sheffield United’s busy summer, both on and off the pitch, has been serving as a buildup towards the club’s first game of the new Championship season, which kicks-off away to Cardiff City. Marking a fitting occasion for the visitMALTA.com partnership to enter its third year, the game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, on Sunday 8 August.

The Blades recent training camp in Malta served as an integral part of Sheffield United’s pre-season preparations. With the trip helping cement United’s relationship with Malta, the climax to the week saw United lift the JPL Cisk Lager Cup – following Blades’ victories against Maltese Premiership sides Vittoriosa Stars and Hibernians.

Daniel Bogdanovic collects JPL Cisk Lager Cup player-of-the-tournament award in Malta from Gail Debono representing Fuego

Daniel Bogdanovic collects JPL Cisk Lager Cup player-of-the-tournament award in Malta from Gail Debono representing Fuego

To help bolster their promotion challenge in the 2010/11 season, Blades fans can look forward to seeing six new faces at Bramall Lane. Daniel Bogdanovic, Johnny Ertl, Leon Britton, Steve Simonsen, Rob Kozluk and Nyron Nosworthy have all joined Sheffield United over the summer.

Having joined the club on a two-year deal, Daniel Bogdanovic’s goal-scoring, player-of-the-tournament performance in Malta has helped make the Maltese striker an instant hit in the Blades camp. United will be hoping he can replicate the form he showed in front of goal for Barnsley, where he posted 14 goals to become top scorer in his first season at Oakwell.

Adding to the signing of Bogdanovic, the Blades have brought in former Crystal Palace player Johnny Ertl, who can play in midfield or defence. Additional signings include ex Swansea City midfielder Leon Britton, who was secured from under the noses of several other clubs in England, while the experienced goalkeeper Steve Simonsen has joined on a two-year contract having secured his release from Stoke City. Sheffield United have also re-signed defender Rob Kozluk on a one-year deal after his release by Barnsley. Kozluk, the 32-year-old full-back, made 213 appearances for the Blades in an eight-year spell from 1998-2007.

The latest development in United’s team rebuilding is the signing of Nyron Nosworthy on a season-long loan. The Sunderland defender is back at Bramall Lane for the entirety of the 2010/11 campaign, without a recall clause for the Premiership outfit.

The one signing Blades fans will not see playing this year is Simon Walton. He arrived at the club earlier this month from Plymouth on a season-long loan, but the midfielder suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in a pre-season friendly against Mansfield.

The summer signings follow on from club captain Chris Morgan, midfielder Nick Montgomery (2009-10 player-of-the-year) and striker Richard Creswell signing contract extensions with the Blades.

Mike Farnan, Group Executive Director at Sheffield United has been instrumental in the club’s close relationship with Malta.

Farnan said: “It proved a busy summer for United’s manager Kevin Blackwell and our CEO Trevor Birch who have been working together to strengthen the squad. The pre-season tour of Malta proved a timely opportunity for the team to get away to focus minds and build team spirit.

“We hope that our growing bond with the island will help encourage as many Maltese football fans to back the team ahead of the new season. We are aiming to fulfil our number one goal of returning to the Premiership and with these new signings it should be an exciting year.”

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