Blades sharpen up

Aiden Flint
Aiden Flint

Sheffield United are making further strengthening moves on and off the field as a new management structure takes shape.

Bill Dearden is being lined up for a return to the club as chief scout, joining his one-time club mate Frank Barlow in a backroom team that now has a strong Blades background.

And manager Danny Wilson could be considering a second signing swoop on former club Swindon with up-and-coming centre back Aden Flint rumoured to be on his radar.

Possible interest in Flint has surfaced in the wake of Wilson making Jean-Francois Lescinel his first acquisition since taking charge.

Dearden, who spearheaded United’s memorable promotion to the top flight in 1971, has been Blackpool’s chief scout for the past three years.

Barlow left a similar role at Sunderland to rejoin the Blades following Wilson’s appointment and now the highly experienced Dearden is expected to follow suit.

After his playing days, which peaked at Bramall Lane under John Harris, Dearden became a much respected coach and he has managed Port Vale, Mansfield, Notts County and Mansfield.

His return would take yet more heat out of the fans backlash over Wilson’s appointment, which pales into insignificance besides Alex McLeish’s recent cross-Birmingham move from St. Andrew’s to Villa Park.

Meanwhile, Flint would be a logical target for Wilson who has made an initial priority of strengthening a defence still stripped of injured player-coach Chris Morgan and shorn of last season’s loan duo, Shane Lowry and Joe Mattock.

Lescinel can play left back or centre half. Flint is primarily a centre back who, at 21, is reckoned to have a promising future in the game. Wilson took him to Swindon from non-league Alfreton.

After last season’s managerial change at the County Ground, caretaker boss Paul Hart plumped for experience in the club’s failed bid to stay in League One. Flint returned on loan to Alfreton where he was made captain and led the team to promotion from the Conference North. Now he is set to resume his league career and Wilson, who is mindful of developing young talent amid tight budget restrictions, could earmark him for a second time.

Wilson is also rumoured to be handing a trial to 19-year-old Ipswich midfielder Billy Clark.