DANNY LAFFERTY is hoping his loan move from Premiership club, Burnley to League One’s Sheffield United can reignite his international career.
The 27 year-old, who has 13 caps for N. Ireland, made the surprise deadline day move to the ‘Blades’ and believes the late transfer can help enhance his reputation.
With his contract at Turf Moor expiring at the end of the season, Lafferty is hoping a full campaign at Sheffield United will help ‘open doors’.
“My Burnley contract is up at the end of this season,” he explained. I’m on a season long loan deal and my contract is up after that, but I’ll take each game as it comes and hopefully doors open along the way.
“If I get playing games and do well then hopefully it will enhance my reputation and make people take notice.”
The defender received an unscheduled call from his agent around 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon informing him of the interest from Sheffield United.
I had a few options but Sheffield United was always going to be top of the list - a club of that stature and fanbase and a city as big as Sheffield.Danny Lafferty
And from then on it was a hectic few hours as he drove from his Bolton home to Bramall Lane to complete the deal.
“It was a bit of a long day,” he explained. “It was just about getting in the car and driving once I heard it could go ahead. I knew it was a possibility I could be going to Sheffield United.
“I had a few options but Sheffield United was always going to be top of the list - a club of that stature and fanbase and a city as big as Sheffield.
“It was about trying to get the right club. As the day progressed it became more likely and the clubs got in contact and we were able to come to an agreement.
“I got the phone call between 3p.m. and 4p.m. and I got straight into the car to drive to Sheffield.”
So how did it feel to be a part of a record-breaking summer transfer window and an exciting deadline day?
“It’s not something you want to go through,” he smiled. “It’s okay at the top end of the market if you’re going for £50 million but when it’s a bit lower down it’s a bit more stressful.
“I’m just so keen to get out playing football again. Sheffield United is an unbelievable opportunity. The club is absolutely huge. So it was exciting in the sense of where I was going.
“But you miss the whole deadline day action because you’re that enthralled in what’s happening with yourself. I’m not really watching Sky Sports News,” he laughed.
Lafferty revealed his heavily pregnant girlfriend, who was three days overdue on the day, could easily have ‘scuppered’ the move had she gone into labour.
“She could have gone at any time and it could be any minute now so we’re looking forward to that,” he smiled.
The Carnhill lad, who has made just one Premiership appearance for Burnley - as a substitute against Southampton in a 1-0 win during the 2014/15 season - believes a move away from Turf Moor was his best option in terms of progressing his career.
“I wouldn’t want to hang about and be hopeful things fall into place. Sean Dyche (Burnley boss) was happy enough with me but it’s Premier League level and the club is a lot more ambitious this time around.
“I knew gametime would have been hard to come by. And being ambitious myself I wanted to go out and play so I tried to find the best opportunity that suited me and this one definitely does.
“It would’ve been the perfect scenario to be playing in the Premier League with Burnley this year but that’s just part of the game. The competition is extremely fierce at that level.”
He views his move to Sheffield United as a ‘fresh start’ and having missed out in N. Ireland’s historic Euro 2016 campaign in France, he’s hoping regular football can now improve his chances with the international squad.
And with a decent pre-season with Burnley behind him, Lafferty is expecting his loan move will be a lot more fruitful than his previous loan spells at Rotherham and Oldham.
“It’s a fresh start for me. The lack of game time is what has stinted my international career.
“So I want to go and hit the ground running. I was out on loan before but I’ve had a full preseason under my belt and a few games so I want to do well and hopefully along the way more doors open in the N. Ireland set-up.
“So now I really want to kick on and be successful at international level and see what the future holds beyond that.”