Greg targets promotion

GREG Halford has targeted a second promotion medal to go along with the one he won with Colchester United.

Derek Davis

GREG Halford has targeted a second promotion medal to go along with the one he won with Colchester United.

The former U's star from Chelmsford hit a stunning opener for Sheffield United to bury Ipswich and push the Blades to level on points with third-placed Reading.

Halford is convinced United will go up and he is hoping the eight-game unbeaten streak will continue and they can go up automatically.

Halford said: “I believe we can and I would love to win a Championship promotion medal to go with the League One medal I won with Colchester.”

Halford scored United's opener against Ipswich, a club that overlooked him when he was at Layer Road before he eventually moved to Reading, then Charlton and Sunderland.

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But as good as Saturday's strike was he has scored better.

He said: “It was one of my better goals but not my best. That came for Colchester in the 4-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.

“I can't believe how much room I had and there was only one thing on my mind when I saw the space I had and the gap.”

The 24-year-old is on a season-long loan from the Black Cats but admits the move could be made permanent.

Halford said: “Sunderland have been keeping an eye on me and I have kept in touch through Niall Quinn so we will see what happens at the end of the season.

“I have not felt so settled since I was at Colchester. I have only been at other places for around six months at a time so being with Sheffield has been good knowing I was going to be here for a year.

“I have moved into a house in the area and that has helped me, too.”

It was not just the goal that marked out Halford as the man of the match after impressing with his midfield play and long throws.

He admitted he was only just feeling fit after being struck down by a bug.

He said: “It s strange but that was the first time I have felt 100%. I have had a virus which was rotten but I'm over that illness now and this performance was more a matter of proving a point to myself than anyone else.

“I think the fans already know what I can do.

“We have been given licence to roam and I enjoyed coming inside and getting involved. My preferred position is anywhere through the middle. I love playing central midfield and I quite fancy playing up front.

“If I was taught how to play there properly I feel I could do well.”

Blades boss Kevin Blackwell is delighted at the way Halford has responded to some recent criticism and added: “That was as good a goal as you will see anywhere.

“I asked him to give us a little bit more than the average Joe and it was great to see him respond in that way.”

The win keeps United in the hunt for an automatic place and Blackwell was happy at his side's performance.

He said: “For 35, 40 minutes we were unplayable. In the second half we shut up shop and I told my players not to be gung-ho.

“All we can do now is keep picking up points and if the others trip up we want to be there to take advantage.”