Blades: Wilson out to raise spirits ready for kick-off

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DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, has vowed to lift the morale in the dressing room during pre-season.

DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, has vowed to lift the morale in the dressing room during pre-season.

The ex-Northern Ireland international, who replaced Micky Adams at the helm in May, says the players are still “hurting” following relegation to League One.

His troops reported back for pre-season training on Thursday and will begin life in the third tier of English football on August 6 at Oldham Athletic.

Wilson is under no illusions at the size of the task he is facing at Bramall Lane but he is confident with his new backroom staff in place he can pick the players spirits up over the summer.

He told The Star: “It is part and parcel of my job to lift the players. That is why I have also brought in experienced people to help me out.

“We have been part of the other side of it and had success as well. It is up to us to get the lads in a positive frame of mind. Last season has gone now and been put to bed. There is no point dwelling on it.”

Having sanctioned Darius Henderson’s move to Millwall, Wilson is now mulling over his options in the transfer market.

He has increased his resources by landing Lesicnel Jean-Francoise and Danny Philliskirk from Swindon Town and Chelsea respectively but Wilson is expected to bring in further reinforcements before the big kick-off.

Wilson has been linked with a move for goalkeeper Matt Duke. The 33-year-old, who started his career at United almost 12 years ago, is a free agent following the expiry of his contract at Hull City. His final appearance for the Tigers came in the 3-0 defeat at Bristol City in May. Duke had spent seven years at the KC Stadium but was one of four out-of-contract players informed by boss Nigel Pearson that he was surplus to requirements.

Duke, plucked from non-league by Peter Taylor in July 2004, was part of Hull’s promotion winning sides in 2005 and 2008. Signed from Alfreton Town by Adrian Heath, Duke failed to make an appearance at United and eventually joined Burton Albion. He has also represented Stockport, Wycombe and Derby.