Sheffield United's David Parkhouse ready for new challenge at Stevenage
Striker David Parkhouse feels last season’s Derry City experience has prepared him for the rough and tumble of League Two.
The Northern Ireland U21 international has signed a loan deal with League Two’s bottom side Stevenage for the remainder of the season and he’s looking forward to the challenge.
Parkhouse, who had a superb campaign with the Candy Stripes last year scoring 19 goals in 39 appearances in his first full season in senior football, made his debut for Graham Westley’s side, coming off the bench in the second half in Tuesday night’s home loss to Grimsby Town.
“It was the same when I went to Derry, I know I’m not going to walk into the team,” he insisted.
“I have to work my way into things and I know that the result wasn’t the best last night (against Grimsby Town), but I was still happy to get on and make my league debut.
“I feel my time in the League of Ireland will help me in League Two and to be honest that was the whole point of me going to Derry, to get that experience.
“Playing in the League of Ireland was going to help me move onto the next level to League Two and I want to use that experience of games at Derry and take that into playing in League Two with Stevenage and then whenever my loan spell ends at the end of the season, I’ll take the two experiences and combine them to help me again.
“It’s just about consistency and then looking to move on up the ladder.
“You have to start somewhere and you need to gain experience to be able to cope with different situations and different levels, because at the end of the day it’s about playing first team football and learning from those experiences in terms of results, so you’ll be able to cope with playing at higher levels.”
The former Maiden City Soccer starlet feels his workman-like style will help the League Two basement men but he feels he has other attributes to his game.
“The League of Ireland is very physical but it is getting more technical with the ball as the years go on, but I still had to roll my sleeves up when playing for Derry,” he added.
“But in League Two there’s some good footballing teams and that’s the way Stevenage like to play and I know that I’m classified as an ‘old fashioned striker’, but I like to play with the ball as well as been physically dominant against my opponent.
“Stevenage is like Derry City, as they can do both. They like to play but they aren’t feared either to go long whenever they need to, if it’s to get a result.”
Despite having turned down a new deal at Sheffield United just before Christmas, the Strabane man never wanted to leave the Premier League men and was thrilled to have signed a new contract with the Bramall Lane men.
“To be honest as Sheffield United are such a big club and whenever you are at a Premier League club, you can’t be in a rush to leave and it was never in my mind that I wanted to go,” he insisted.
“Yes I might have turned down that deal, but it wasn’t to say that I was looking to go elsewhere. I just turned it down, but I was never looking to leave.
“So now I’m delighted to have signed a new deal at Sheffield United, which keeps me there until the summer of 2022 and that’s obviously another thing to be happy about.”
On Saturday, Stevenage host Leyton Orient, as they look to get their first win in three games and close the gap on second from bottom Morecambe and Parkhouse can’t wait to make his home debut, but knows he needs to keep working hard to force his way into Westley’s plans.
“It would be great if I could get my first start, but as I said it’s just like being at Derry City, it’s not guaranteed, but I’ll train hard and then whatever comes will come,” he confirmed.
“Sheffield United seen that I done it in the League of Ireland and now it’s about going up levels, into League Two. We know as insiders how good the League of Ireland is and I know it’s hard trying to showcase that around the UK to other teams, but Sheffield United has seen that I have done well and have seen the standard and now the next step is that I’m able to cope with League football over in England.
“But as I said it’s all about just going up each level at a time and seeing how I cope with it, but I have got my reward from the back end of last season by getting a new deal at Sheffield United and now it’s just about kicking on and taking this new challenge at Stevenage and see how I get on with that.”
Parkhouse, who has scored twice in 14 outings for Ian Baraclough’s Northern Ireland under-21 side, feels if he can do well at Broadhall Way then he might be able to force his way into Michael O’Neill’s senior squad.
“We have a U21 Euro 2021 Qualifier coming up in March when we play Ukraine and hopefully I’ll be in contention for getting into the squad, but I want to try as hard as I can to be impressing the seniors, to be within with a shout for their squad,” he acknowledged.
“It’s not a bad thing either that Michael is working with Stoke, so he doesn’t have to travel too far if he wants to have a look at me.”