Sheffield United have been warned that they cannot afford to rely on their youngsters to mount a promotion bid next season - by a man who knows them better than most.
Former Blades player Jamie Hoyland spent six months as United’s Professional Development Lead Coach at the Shirecliffe Academy, before leaving the post in March.
Academy graduates including George Long and Harry Maguire, still aged just 19 and 20 years respectively, have become instrumental figures in United’s defence, whilst winger Callum McFadzean caught the eye in both legs of the Play-Off semi-final against Yeovil.
A 2-0 defeat at Huish Park, just days after McFadzean had given his side a 1-0 advantage at Bramall Lane, condemned United to another season at least in League One, and Hoyland said: “It is still a massive club - it is not a lower league club.
“United have got some decent youngsters, who will take time to develop.
“They need a mix of youth and experience. It might take the youngsters another year to 18 months to come through, so they can’t rely on all of them.
“United still have got some pulling power, but it will take some wheeling and dealing.
“There is not much money at the club, so they’ve got to look at free transfers and loans.
“The players have got to be hungry and want to play for Sheffield United.”
As The Star revealed earlier this week, United officials are drawing up a shortlist of potential new managers - and it is understood that Chris Morgan, currently in temporary charge, will be interviewed.
“I would have thought that they will look to make a quick appointment,” Hoyland, who grew up supporting United before making over 100 appearances for them, added.
“It is only fair on the fans who have stuck by the team week in, week out.
“They need to get the new man in for all of the summer, so he can implement his ideas to take the club forward.
“But whoever they get in, they will still be there or thereabouts next year.
“A lot of teams will regroup and go for it next year so it will be a tough task.
“I think everyone thought they would do it this year, as it was not the best league in the world. So, it is going to be a big rebuilding job.
“But I think they will still challenge next year.”
In the aftermath of the defeat at Huish Park, Morgan admitted: “I’ve spoke with the chairman and he knows that I want the job.
“I want the privilege to be able to keep working with those players.
After cutting his managerial teeth with United’s Under-21 development squad, he too believes United’s future is bright.
“With the seniors we have and the young boys coming through I believe that we have a bright future,” Morgan added,
“There have been a lot of changes here and the players that have come in have done fantastically well to get us here.
“It’s going to be hard work to come back again next season, because no one gives you anything.
“But we have to come back for pre-season at the end of June and be ready to mount another challenge.”
Despite speculation early in the week that Chris Wilder was due to be appointed, it is understood that no approach had been made to Oxford United.
Wilder, another former Blade, is thought to be open to the idea of a return to Bramall Lane - but signed a one-year deal with Oxford only last month.