SHEFFIELD UNITED: Lane boss waits and hopes over key trio

List of targets: Danny Wilson has been a busy man
List of targets: Danny Wilson has been a busy man

AFTER nearly a month in self-imposed exile, Danny Wilson re-entered the public arena yesterday.

Yes, the Sheffield United manager admitted, the pain of losing May’s play-off final has yet to subside.

No, he has not felt the need to irritate those wounds by poring over the whys and wherefores in the press.

But, Wilson insisted, the apparent lack of progress should not be interpreted as a state of paralysis behind the scenes.

Bramall Lane, the former Northern Ireland international explained, has been a hive of activity since that heart-breaking defeat by Huddersfield Town at Wembley.

Targets have been identified and talks with out-of-contract squad members convened.

Gaining statements of intent from three of those - Lee Williamson, Kevin McDonald and Chris Porter - features at the top of Wilson’s ‘to do’ list.

“They are free to talk to other clubs, which I’m sure their representatives have been doing,” he said. “But the sooner we know the better. I’d rather know now than in two or three weeks.

“They’re aren’t any deadlines though. We’ve not given them because we don’t want to. If they wanted to come back to us at the last second then I’d have them because they’re all very good players.”

“Obviously when you speak to people in that position you always get the same reply,” Wilson added.

“And that’s ‘yes, we’d love to stay’.

“But I’m a realist and I know their agents will be playing the field.

“They’ve had offers from us and now it’s up to them to respond.”

The unveiling

of next season’s League One fixture schedule has given fresh impetus to United’s preparations for the new campaign.

Despite bracing himself for a heavy churn of personnel, Wilson acknowledged he will be expected to construct a team capable of challenging for promotion.

By the time they meet Shrewsbury Town on August 18 – having already hosted Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup - United hope to have completed the majority of their business.

“We’ve got lots of targets we can call upon,” Wilson said.

“If we lose players then hopefully we can replace them quickly.”

Wilson, whose team are scheduled to establish a warm- weather training camp on the Mediterranean island of Malta next month, expects to discover the exact details of his recruitment budget shortly, although the outcome

of negotiations with Williamson, McDonald and Porter will either tie up a significant portion or see one released.

Williamson is known to count Nottingham Forest, Burnley and Barnsley among his admirers while Porter failed to make enough starts to trigger a 12-month option in his present deal.

Despite electing not to publicly identify those players viewed as potential acquisitions, Wilson appeared to confirm The Star’s recent rev

elations that Hibernian’s David Wotherspoon, ex Leeds defender Ben Parker, Stuart Beavon of Wycombe and Dundee United’s Gary Kenneth feature among them.

Wilson recently insisted: “There are lots of excellent players in League One.

“Some people might have been taken by surprise aby that.”

But he’s known to have made a conscious effort to map the Scottish market since taking charge just over a year ago.

One of his first tasks at the club was to capture Falkirk winger Ryan Flynn.

The Capital One Cup first-round tie against Burton Albion at Bramall Lane will be played on Saturday, August 11, it was confirmed yesterday.