SHEFFIELD UNITED: Race against time for Danny Wilson to create a team

Out of contract: Lee Williamson

Out of contract: Lee Williamson

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BY their own admission, Sheffield United are playing catch up.

Having missed out on promotion last term by the finest of margins, the South Yorkshire outfit axed 11 players, including high earners Steve Simonsen and Johannes Ertl.

Out of contract: Chris Porter

Out of contract: Chris Porter

Short on quality and personnel, United chief Danny Wilson is under orders from chairman Kevin McCabe to continue trimming their wage bill. As things stand, Wilson has yet to make a single signing since the club were beaten by Huddersfield Town in the League One play-off final nearly a month ago.

Wilson recently admitted: “We are four or five weeks behind schedule in terms of redefining the squad.”

Plenty of comings and goings are expected at Bramall Lane over the summer. The Blades, pipped to the second automatic promotion berth by neighbours Sheffield Wednesday, lack genuine firepower in the final third having lost James Beattie and Ched Evans. Wilson says his priority is to recruit a striker, centre-back and a full-back.

The United chief’s movement in the market will also be dictated by whether out -of-contract trio Chris Porter, Lee Williamson and Kevin McDonald choose to extend their stays at the club. Wilson hopes to resolve their futures before the team travels to the Mediterranean island of Malta in July for a warm-weather training camp.

Should influential midfield duo Williamson and McDonald move on, that would hinder United’s hopes of competing in the upper echelons of the division next season.

However, McDonald has said he has no desire to leave. The 23-year-old, who missed the showpiece Wembley final due to injury, said: “I’d like to say I’m fully confident of being back next season but I’m not in a position to do so at present. I want to get it [my future] sorted out soon and if they offer me the right deal I’d be delighted to sign.”

Williamson is on Barnsley, Burnley and Nottingham Forest’s radar while Porter,

the scorer of the winner in the play-off semi-final contest with Stevenage, has also yet to commit his future.

Wilson, who has not ruled out re-signing Will Hoskins, has one senior forward on his books in Richard Cresswell. Youngsters Danny Philliskirk and Erik Tonne are set to feature prominently when the club’s league programme gets under way in August, with Wilson set to put his faith in the next generation.