Sheffield United: Hull ready to end Maguire chase

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire

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Hull City are threatening to withdraw their interest in Harry Maguire, The Star understands.

Hull City are threatening to withdraw their interest in Harry Maguire, The Star understands.

Chris Basham slammed home United's second against Dundee. Picture: Martyn Harrison

Chris Basham slammed home United's second against Dundee. Picture: Martyn Harrison

Sources close to the KC Stadium revealed last night that manager Steve Bruce, who yesterday agreed a £3m fee for Scotland international Andrew Robertson, is growing disillusioned with his failure to secure the centre-half’s release from Sheffield United.

Bramall Lane’s board of directors have rejected two bids, known to be worth an initial £1.5m and £2m, from their counterparts in East Yorkshire.

But the situation appears to have reached stalemate with Bruce, despite previously indicating he was preparing to return with an improved offer, now insisting City will refuse to meet United’s asking price for Maguire.

Speaking after his side’s 4-2 friendly win over Dundee, Blades boss Nigel Clough said: “It’s simple. Harry has a valuation which we believe is reasonable and it’s not been met. There will come a point when we hope to open talks (over a new deal) and that will probably be when the whole thing is dead and buried. But I don’t think it’s dead and buried yet.

“Talks are still going on between the two clubs so we’ll have to wait and see what transpires.”

Maguire featured in United’s first two warm-up fixtures despite postponing negotiations over an improved contract but missed the 4-2 victory over the visitors from Dens Park after being taken ill.

“We played golf on Thursday and, believe it or not, Harry had too much sun,” Clough added. “There’s no conspiracy or anything like that. He had the shivers and didn’t feel well.”

Meanwhile, Clough has confirmed former Chelsea defender Adam Nditi will not be joining United following an unsuccessful trial.

SHEFFIELD UNITED 4 DUNDEE 2

It was a perfect day for Louis Reed who celebrated his birthday by delivering another assured display in Sheffield United’s engine room.

Nigel Clough’s side recorded their first victory of the summer friendly programme and the 17-year-old presented a strong case for the League One club’s manager to hand him a prominent role next term.

Despite looking as if he has been plucked straight from the school playground, the diminutive midfielder goes about his business with a maturity and poise which belies the fact he has made just a single appearance at senior level.

Jamie Murphy, Chris Basham, Jose Baxter and debutant Marc McNulty scored the goals which put Dundee to the sword but, together with Jamal Campbell-Ryce, the Redtooth Academy graduate was also among the most eye-catching performers on show in front of 3,207 at Bramall Lane.

“It was a good game for us,” Clough, whose team face Huddersfield Town, Fenerbahce and York City next week, said. “We’re building up slowly to where we want to be and that’s all part of the process.

“There were some good performances out there and it’s nice to see little partnerships developing.

“I think that was a step forward for us. The structure is beginning to fall into place.”

Nevertheless it was the visitors who engineered the first real opportunity of note when Paul McGowan drew a fine save from Mark Howard during the early exchanges.

But their manager Paul Hartley, the former Celtic and Scotland midfielder, will have been dismayed by the defensive blunder which presented Murphy with the most routine of conversions moments later.

Kyle Benedictus hopelessly misjudged a back pass towards goalkeeper Kyle Letheren who was left cruelly exposed when Baxter sent his team mate scampering through.

Although Dundee impressed in possession, it was United who appeared sharper in attack with Murphy and Reed flashing low drives wide.

That was, however, until Luka Tankulic’s delightful footwork created the space for him to find the bottom corner of Howard’s net midway through the opening period.

With George Long’s loan move to Oxford now confirmed - the England youth international will spend the next six months at Kassam Stadium - Howard knows only injury or illness will prevent him from starting the new season which begins against Bristol City on August 9.

He demonstrated the match-craft which has persuaded Clough to make him Bramall Lane’s undisputed number by denying Gary Harkins a clear shot when the 29-year-old evaded his marker soon after.

Murphy went again went close before Basham combined with Bob Harris to restore United’s advantage.

Baxter and McNulty put the game beyond Dundee’s reach during the closing stages although Thomas Konrad claimed a late consolation.

SHEFFIELD UNITED: Howard (Willis 83), Alcock, McGahey (Butler 73), Collins (Khan 77), Harris

(Paling 77), Reed (Doyle 67), Basham (Dimaiuo 77), Scougall (S McGinn 73), Campbell-Ryce (Davies 67), Murphy (McNulty 67), Baxter (Porter 73). Not used: Maguire, Khan.

DUNDEE: Letheren, P McGinn (Kerr 75), Dyer (Ferry 46), Benedictus, Konrad, McBride (McAlister 46), Thomson (Wighton 65), Harkins (Dodd 46), Roberts (Boyle 46), McGowan (Stewart 46), Tankulic. Not used: Adam.

REFEREE: Michael Naylor.

GOALS: Murphy (9), Tankulic (25), Basham (52), Baxter (65), McNulty (69), Konrad (85)

ATTENDANCE: 3207