Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has insisted he will hold mid-season contract talks with players only in exceptional circumstances after confirming the likes of Jay O’Shea and Stefan Scougall must wait until the summer before discovering if they will be remaining at Bramall Lane next term.
Speaking before last weekend’s game against Charlton Athletic, O’Shea revealed he wants to agree a permanent deal with the League One leaders when his loan from Chesterfield expires but accepted a decision will not be reached before April 30’s meeting with his parent club.
Scougall has also stated his desire to agree fresh terms in South Yorkshire.
But Wilder, explaining captain Billy Sharp has relayed his policy to the rest of United’s first-team squad, said: “I’m not dealing with any contracts now. There’s an obvious bigger issue.
“I’ve said to the players whose contracts are up, through the skipper, that I won’t be looking at that now. I don’t want anything to derail what we’re doing.
“We’ll leave everything until when the season ends.”
United’s administrative affairs were brought into focus towards the end of last year when Wilder, less than six months after being appointed, announced that Paul Coutts, Chris Basham and Matt Done were all set to trigger performance-related clauses entitling them to new contracts.
Although he has since acknowledged those have provided “extra security” for both the individuals concerned and his club, Wilder explained his refusal to open discussions now is not designed to prevent unnecessary distractions during the promotion run-in.
“I don’t like talking about contracts during a season ever, to be fair, even though there might be times when there have to be exceptions,” he said.
“Of course, there are situations you have to deal with if somebody makes an approach for one of your players.
“But I’d much rather do all this in between seasons. Obviously lots of these boys had triggers and so we’re comfortable with the situation. Going forward, I don’t think you’ll see us dealing with contracts mid-season.”
“It’s best to try and organise yourselves. The season is for football.”