SHEFFIELD United have confirmed that contract negotiations with defender Neill Collins have begun, as Danny Wilson looks to avoid a repeat of the situation which overshadowed his summer.
United lost the services of Lee Williamson in the close season after his contract expired - the midfielder rejected United’s offer and joined Portsmouth instead – and Kevin McDonald almost followed suit, before eventually agreeing an extension to his deal at Bramall Lane.
At one stage, Wilson was resigned to losing both men – and the Sheffield Telegraph understands that the United boss is now keen to avoid a number of his senior players all nearing the end of their deals at the same time.
That strategy has seen new deals given to captain Michael Doyle and player-coach Richard Cresswell, and now Scottish defender Collins, pictured – currently sidelined with a foot injury - is the latest to be offered fresh terms.
“We have been talking to Neill; he has had a tremendous 16 to 18 months since we arrived and he is another exemplary professional,” Wilson said.
“Keeping the likes of Neill, Michael and Richard can only benefit the youngsters beneath them.
“They are great role models for the younger lads and more importantly they are vital to the success of the first-team at the moment. I believe that talks are progressing nicely and everything is amicable.”
Wilson, speaking ahead of last night’s visit to Notts County in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, also wants to sign an emergency goalkeeper on loan ahead of Saturday’s trip to Preston North End.
Danny Coyne, the former Wales international, is training with United and Wilson is expected to make a decision on his future soon.
Regular number one Mark Howard is expected to be out of action until Christmas with a thigh injury – leaving only teenagers George Long and George Willis on Wilson’s goalkeeping roster.
United travel to Preston on Saturday still unbeaten in League One competition this term, and Matt Hill – deputising for the injured Collins at centre-half – is looking forward to returning to his former club.
“I have good memories of Preston,” said Hill, who made over 100 starts for the Lancashire club. “I always look out for their results and wish them all the best – apart from on Saturday, of course!”