Aussie Shane Lowry is back for a third loan spell in Yorkshire – only this time at the wrong end of the table with Sheffield United.
But if the youngster gets his way you can expect that to change quickly – the defender out to boot the Blades up the Championship ladder and improve his prospects with both parent club Aston Villa and the Australian national side at the same time.
The 21-year-old has moved to Bramall Lane for the rest of the season as new United boss Micky Adams continues to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window.
Lowry already knows his way around Yorkshire just fine, having previously enjoyed two loan stints at Leeds when the Whites were in League One last year.
Despite being rather in and out of Simon Grayson’s first team plans, Lowry helped the Elland Roaders win promotion to the Championship, but while the Whites are now rated contenders to move up to the Premier League, Lowry’s new club are seen as more likely to get relegated by the nation’s bookmakers.
However, the Aussie defender believes that will soon change, the centre-back insisting the Blades are in a false position at present and aware it will do his long-term prospects the world of good in helping that change.
Assessing United’s current league position, Lowry told Yorkshire Sport: “At the moment I feel like they are at the wrong end of the table.
“A club like Sheffield United needs to be pushing for the play-offs or automatic promotions. Hopefully I can come in and help them get the results. It’s important we do that, so hopefully we can all stick together, get a few good results, and get us moving up the table.
“I just want to win as many games as possible to be honest.
“These days the game is based on results and if the team isn’t winning
then the manager and the players are out of the team.
“I want to win as many games as possible, hopefully keep a few clean sheets along the way and hopefully put in a few good performances
“If the team is winning and I’m in the team then I’ll take that because
at the end of the day it’s a team game and not an individual game.”
Maybe so, but Lowry knows full well the size of the task in hand in terms of breaking in at parent side Villa.
The Perth-born player signed up at Villa Park back in February 2005, along with fellow Australian Chris Herd, and while Lowry has enjoyed many outings with the reserves and high-profile pre-season friendlies, competitively only three first team appearances as a substitute have come his way – two in the Europa League and one in the FA Cup.
For all that the defender penned a new two-year-contract with the Midlands outfit in May and very much hopes his long-term future lies there, but he also knows just how important the Blades loan spell is to what lies ahead in his career.
“Obviously it’s tough being at a Premiership club with a couple of players in front of you when you’re trying to break through,” said Lowry.
“I signed a deal in May towards the end of last season – a two-year-
deal – so I’m contracted for another 18 months, but it’s always hard and you are just waiting for an opportunity up against players like those.
“These are the types of move you have to make if you want to prove to people that you can player at a higher level.”
Looking at back on his spell in West Yorkshire he added: “Leeds was a learning curve for me.
“I went there and got played at left-back when I’m more of a centre-half, but it’s good to learn to play in different positions.
“It was up and down for me. I was on and off, in the team then out the team, but it was good that in the end we got promotion.
“At the end of the day it was a good experience for me.”
Lowry is now just over one week into his Blades experience which began with last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Coventry City in which the loan ace played the full 90 minutes.
But he already feels settled at Bramall Lane and is also highly impressed with the squad at manager Adams’ disposal.
“To be honest I have found it really good,” said Lowry of his first week at the Lane. “The lads and the gaffer have welcomed me and everyone has made me feel quite settled. I’ve really enjoyed it so far.
“Obviously the game last Saturday we got a good result, which obviously helps, and I’m looking forward to the next few months here.
“From what I’ve seen so far the quality is good.
“They have got a lot of options all over the pitch which is going to give the gaffer a headache with the team selection. That’s why players like me are here, we’ve made a few signings this transfer window and it’s only going to mean competition for places.
“That makes everyone do better and play better in training and makes everyone push each other on so, hopefully, that will mean good results too.”
Boss Adams has certainly been a busy man since the turn of 2011, with Lowry just one part of the January jigsaw, with hugely experienced striker Marcus Bent the latest arrival on loan from Birmingham City.
Lowry’s Villa have also brought in a Bent this week – £24m forward Darren – but while his prospective future team-mate knows United won’t be splashing the cash in that extravagant fashion, Lowry feels United’s own Bent could be just the tonic at Bramall Lane.
“Obviously Villa have got a lot of money to spend, with the chairman and that, but I was quite surprised by that,” said Lowry. “It seemed to come out of nowhere in like 24 hours.
“We’ve got Marcus Bent here and I think he’s a great signing for us.
“He’s got vast experience, he’s played at the highest level you can
play at, and got goals, so he knows what the game is about.
“He knows the situation we’re in and that if he scores a few goals it will get us out of it.”
Lowry too knows full-well what he will reap with a successful Blades loan spell – the youngster desperate to take United up the table and also enhance his own prospects at Villa Park and on an international front.
The proud Aussie makes no secret of his ambition to represent the Socceroos, but it’s first things first for the stopper and he’s concentrating on putting his name in lights at Bramall Lane.
“Obviously I want to play for the Australian national team and it’s a massive goal of mine,” he said. “I went to the warm-up squad for the World Cup and just missed out on the 23, so obviously my next goal is to get my first international cap and to play for Australia in the new future.
“At the same time my club form is important to that and if I can play well for Sheffield United I might get the recognition to get into the
Australian national squad.
“If I push on with my performances at club level then hopefully the international stage will look after itself.”