Sheffield United: Blades take steps in transfer market

Missing man: Mark Howard has been absent since October
Missing man: Mark Howard has been absent since October
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SHEFFIELD United have taken steps to insure themselves against making a potentially costly mistake in the transfer market by changing the way they do business with rivals clubs.

The Star understands that officials at Bramall Lane, who are seeking to off-load several fringe players before the end of this month’s window, inserted a sell-on clause into the deal which saw David McAllister join Shrewsbury Town eight days ago.

The terms of McAllister’s move to Graham Turner’s side mirror those United sought from Hull City when the Championship high-flyers signed Stephen Quinn in August.

“Where appropriate, this is something we are looking to do on a regular basis now,” a source said. “

Like the rest of their divisional counterparts United, who return to League One action at Notts County on Saturday, must adhere to the new Salary Cost Management Protocol which pegs the amount of money they can spend on players to 65 per cent of total turnover.

The new legislation, which was formally introduced last summer, has prompted coaching staff to concede they must trim the options at their disposal following the recent arrival of Danny Higginbotham and Jamie Murphy.

Danny Coyne, the former Wales and Middlesbrough goalkeeper, agreed to remain with United for another four weeks before last Saturday’s defeat by Yeovil Town which left Danny Wilson’s team fourth in the table.

Dave Kitson has also penned a fresh contract recently, together with Neill Collins and captain Michael Doyle.

McAllister, who could face his old team mates when United visit Greenhous Meadow on February 9, made 30 appearances for United after leaving St Patrick’s Athletic.

Meanwhile, United hope the adverse weather conditions do not wreak havoc with their efforts to rehabilitate members of Wilson’s first team squad following injury.

The under-21’s are scheduled to visit Wigan Athletic in the Professional Development League, which is frequently used to road test the fitness of senior players, next week.

Although neither Collins (cheekbone) and Matt Hill (jaw) are scheduled to feature in Lancashire, Mark Howard could be parachuted into Chris Morgan’s line-up if he receives the all-clear from medical staff.

The goalkeeper has missed 21 games after tearing a muscle at Leyton Orient but, Wilson revealed before the meeting with Town, has recently resumed training.

“We always like to give lads a run-out in the under-21’s if we can before bringing them back,” the United manager explained. “It’s a good work-out for them and it gives us a chance to really gauge their progress.

“Ideally, you don’t like to throw someone straight back in if they’ve been out for quite a while. Sometimes, though, circumstances demand that has to be the case.”

United’s home fixture against Brentford has been selected for live television broadcast.

The match, which will be screened by SKY, still takes place on Saturday 23 March but now kicks-off at 12.45pm.

*Did You Know? United have won four and drawn three of their last 10 meetings with Brentford. The Londoners’ last victory at Bramall Lane came in 1982 when Keith Edwards scored for the hosts.