SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson will hold talks with Barry Robson at the end of the season after confirming he wants to keep the Scotland international at Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.
Robson, previously of Middlesbrough and Glasgow Celtic, has been an instrumental figure behind a run of form which sees United enter tonight’s game against Leyton Orient on top of the League One table and hoping for a fifth straight success.
Wilson said: “When the campaign is over we’ll sit down and assess the situation. I’m sure Barry will tell us his views then.
“Personally, I’d love to keep him. Whatever division we are in because Barry has got the ability to be an influence in the Championship.
“I don’t know his circumstances and I’m sure, with how well he’s doing, he’ll have plenty of options.
“But the fact that he came here, that he decided to choose us in the first place, was a real feather in our cap.”
Robson, aged 34, rejected overtures from Burnley and Millwall before signing a short-term contract with United last month after leaving Vancouver Whitecaps.
Boasting a wealth of domestic and European experience following his spell at Parkhead, Wilson yesterday outlined the qualities he has brought to United’s promotion push.
“You need fire in your belly and ice around your ear holes,” Wilson continued. “Barry has been around the block and he’s a tough cookie.
“One of the things he’s done is steady us down. And, to go about your business in the way we want to, passing the ball and expressing ourselves, you need to be relaxed.
“Barry is very calm on the ball. He gets it down, dictates tempo and is also great behind the scenes.
“Plus, he sees situations developing and positions himself to cut out a pass or even stop one from potentially developing and being an option. The type of thing that sometimes, other people don’t see or appreciate.”
United, returning to action for the first time since beating sixth placed AFC Bournemouth three days ago, have not conceded a goal since Stephen McGinn scored Shrewsbury Town’s consolation during their recent defeat at Greenhous Meadow.
Orient, 13th following their narrow defeat by Crawley over the weekend, have won three of their last eight outings in all competitions.
Striker Kevin Lisbie and defender Gary Sawyer are both expected to be absent for the visitors due to injury while midfielder Martin Rowlands is set to undergo a late fitness test after being diagnosed with a groin problem.
United’s on-loan centre-forward Jonathan Forte is still sidelined with a similar complaint although Wilson, expressing fears that goalkeeper Mark Howard’s damaged thigh might not heal “until the end of the season,” predicted he could feature against MK Dons next month.
“Jonathan’s got no chance for this one,” he said. “But we’re hoping it’s not too serious.
“He’s looking at the MK Dons game. That’s the one he’s targeting for his comeback but, you never know, he might be ready before.
“The big bonus for us is that we’ve got Dominic (Poleon) in (on-loan) from Leeds and with his pace he’s a real threat.
“I thought he was very unlucky at Bournemouth on several occasions when he came on. He had fouls given against him which weren’t and, if the decision had been right, then Dom would have been through on goal.”
“Mark keeps getting these little set-backs,” Wilson added. “He’s been out for a long time so of course that’s a concern but hopefully he might be okay for a few (matches) towards the end.
“In any case, we’re not taking any risks because we’ve got George (Long) here and Danny (Coyne) too. If Danny needs to come in then we’ve got no worries about him at all.”