Wilson on the brink of capturing new keeper

Fleetwood Town v Blackpool - FA Cup 3rd Round.  Keeper Mark Howard.
Fleetwood Town v Blackpool - FA Cup 3rd Round. Keeper Mark Howard.

SHEFFIELD United are poised to sign former Arsenal and Blackpool goalkeeper Mark Howard, manager Danny Wilson has confirmed.

Wilson, speaking at his weekly media briefing yesterday, revealed he was “hopeful” of reaching agreement with the 25-year-old “within the next 24 hours.”

If Howard, now a free agent, does put pen to paper on a short-term contract, he will provide cover for United’s established number one Steve Simonsen.

“It’s certainly an area where, given the stage of the campaign we are at, we’d like to have a bit more cover,” Wilson said. “We hope nothing happens to Simmo but we’ve got to be pre-armed if it does.”

Simonsen’s teenage understudy George Long, who has made four senior appearances this season, has signed a four year extension to his present deal. Wilson, who admitted the 18-year-old could be allowed to leave on loan “at some point,” insisted Howard’s arrival should not be interpreted as a slight on Long’s progress.

“George is a fantastic prospect,” Wilson said. “He’s got a terrific attitude which will carry him a long way.

“I don’t know if he can emulate someone like Joe Hart and be an England regular but he’s certainly got it within him to eventually play at Premier League level.”