Double-edged sword for Sheffield United as flying start could attract bids for players

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Danny Wilson is wary of Sheffield United’s flying start attracting bids for players he wants to keep.

It is a double edged sword for the Blades boss, who also knows more good results could prompt his high earners to oblige him by staying even if they are presented with moves to the Championship.

Lee Williamson proved again in midweek that, like fellow midfielders Nick Montgomery and Stephen Quinn, he is playing below his true level.

“Lee was terrific on Tuesday - he changed the game after coming on, just as he did against Brentford last Saturday,” Wilson told the Telegraph after a thrilling comeback for a 3-2 win over Walsall maintained his 100% start.

With a spectacular goal and two assists, Williamson certainly outshone Montgomery and Quinn on this occasion. Wilson is at the mercy of market forces in hoping to keep the trio.

Asked whether the prospect of a successful promotion bid might tempt them to stay, he said: “I hope so. But you’ve got to remember that winning games will attract interest as well.

“All we can do is get the best out of them and hope no-one comes on. Results over the next couple of weeks might make other clubs respond and I’m wary about that.

“The worry is that we’ll have no time to replace them. We can bring people in from the point of view that we know who is out there, but it’s a question of the time factor.”

Wilson’s biggest cause for encouragment is that no-one has battered down his door in an attempt to leave, but he accepts that a successful bid would be a cue to leave.

“I was the same when I was a player - if an offer is accepted then you listen,” he added. “But I think everyone will be very professional about it.”

United were less than that in a strangely haphazard midweek showing. They were slack in the first half and then went two down within minutes of the restart amid a nightmare for keeper Steve Simonsen, only for the timely introduction of Williamson and Michael Doyle to change the game.

Wilson pinpointed a “responsibility for wingers to help full-backs” as the reason for United being overrun, but preferred to give credit to a Walsall side inspired by former Blade Kevan Hurst.

“It has to be a valuable experience for us,” he said. “Everybody has a blank expression about League One and people think it’s garbage. It’s certainly not.

“Walsall played very well and it wouldn’t be fair on them for me to say how bad we were. Teams will raise their game against us and we have to be ready for that.”

Table-topping Blades seek a fourth successive league win at Tranmere on Saturday, having also won through to a second round tie with Everton in the Carling Cup.

Williamson is pushing strongly to start at the expense of new winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing while Doyle is expected to take over from the injured Kevin McDonald.

Keeper Simonsen looks certain to keep his place after a supportive ploy from Wilson in nominating him to face the media at a standard pre-match session today.