Sky Bet League 1: Mark Howard playing for Sheffield United future

Mark Howard: Due to become a free agent at the end of the season

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Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough will give Mark Howard every opportunity to prove that he deserves a new deal.

The 27-year-old goalkeeper will see his current contract at Bramall Lane expire at the end of the season.

He has spent much of the 2013/14 campaign as understudy to England U21 international George Long, but has been brought back into favour by Clough over recent weeks.

Howard is expected to keep his place for Wednesday's home date with Brentford, offering him another opportunity in which to stake a claim for fresh terms.

Clough said in the Sheffield Star: "Mark has been a model professional in training. His attitude has been superb and he did well (at Fulham).

"His contract is up in the summer, we'd not really had a look at him and we thought it was about time we did. Once again, Mark has acquitted himself well so he will stay in for now.

"Mark has helped and encouraged George when he's not been involved. He's waited a long time for an opportunity."

Meanwhile, Clough has expressed his delight at seeing a change in approach pay dividends against Shrewsbury on Saturday.

With his striking options limited, the Blades boss moved Jose Baxter up front and saw midfielders Ryan Flynn and Stefan Scougall weigh in with priceless goals in a 2-0 win.

He added: "Ryan put so much in against Fulham that he was sick on the pitch but we couldn't take him off because we'd used all our subs.

"When you don't select an out-and-out striker it's vital that you can get goals from midfield, and they delivered."