Sheffield United: Blades look for breathing space

Danny Higginbotham
Danny Higginbotham
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SHEFFIELD United are taking steps to ensure that Danny Wilson, whose side has been ravaged by fitness problems in recent weeks, can react if Bramall Lane is beset by another selection crisis during the closing stages of the League One campaign.

The Star understands that the club’s determination to off-load fringe players during this month’s transfer window is not only a response to new financial measures implemented by the governing body last year, but also a desire to allow further signings during the emergency loan market should circumstances require.

Wilson was recently forced to recruit defender Danny Higginbotham, initially on the short-term basis, when Neill Collins and Matt Hill both sustained serious facial injuries while striker Shaun Miller faces a lengthy absence after damaging ligaments in his knee.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game against Notts County, which is subject to a pitch inspection at 1pm today, Wilson suggested Collins could be “around three weeks” away from a return to action.

Salary Cost Management Protocol, which prohibits teams in the third tier from spending more than 65 per cent of their turnover on wages, has complicated Wilson’s efforts to limit the damage caused by the loss of Collins, Hill and Miller.

With Higginbotham and Jamie Murphy arriving at United in recent weeks, independent analysts suggest they are now operating above the 60 per cent mark which triggers micro-management by the Football League.