Sheffield United: Blackman attracts interest

CRYSTAL Palace are not the only club monitoring Nick Blackman’s situation at Bramall Lane, The Star understands.

Blackman, who has scored 14 goals in 32 appearances for Sheffield United this season, has been identified by Palace manager Ian Holloway as a long-term replacement for Wilfried Zaha who was last night poised to complete a £15m move away from Selhurst Park.

But news of Palace’s interest, which comes as Manchester United prepare to confirm Zaha’s signature, is believed to have prompted other clubs from England’s top two divisions to express interest in acquiring Blackman’s services.

Although United would prefer not to lose a player they bought from Blackburn Rovers only five months ago, manager Danny Wilson recently revealed he has drawn-up a list of potential targets should members of his squad be tempted away during the transfer window.

Speaking earlier this month, Wilson said: “We are always on the look-out. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we weren’t.

“It’s impossible to predict what might happen (during the window) but what you can try and do is be in a position to react if something does.”

Wilson, whose side visit Reading in the FA Cup fourth round tomorrow, added: “Obviously the closer something happens towards the end of the month then the harder it is to do that.

“But you must always be prepared for any situation.”

Blackman, aged 23, spent three years at Ewood Park before joining Wilson’s side in August.

Meanwhile, Wilson has confirmed that defender Neill Collins returned to non-contact training earlier this week for the first time since fracturing his cheekbone during December’s League One victory over Scunthorpe United.