DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, has insisted Bramall Lane’s next generation of talent will reap the benefits of joining his squad on its visit to Malta.
Wilson, whose team arrived on the Mediterranean island yesterday ahead of next week’s friendlies against Zejtun Corinthians and Hibernians, invited youngsters such as Elliott Whitehouse and Joe Ironside to take part in the warm-weather training camp.
Although Whitehouse, who impressed during the first half of Wednesday’s fixture at Ilkeston, is expected to feature prominently at senior level next term, many of his contemporaries could be handed more peripheral roles should United make inroads into the transfer market.
But Wilson said: “It’s a win/win situation for these lads and should be an important part of their education and development.
“I’m not going to lie.
“Some of the players we’ve got coming through are ready and some, to my mind, aren’t.
“But it’s important they get used to being around the senior and established players, being in this sort of competitive environment, because they are going to be around us
anyway a lot next season. They should get a lot out of coming to Malta. They can really learn from it.”
Despite expressing concerns whether some of Shirecliffe’s most recent graduates are ready to handle the rigours of regular League One football, Wilson acknowledges the need to cut costs in the wake of May’s play-off final defeat means he must call upon their services at some stage.
Although he repeated his desire to reach the later stages of all knockout competitions, Wilson could elect to utilise Ironside, Callum McFadzean and Terry Kennedy in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy given its meagre financial rewards.
triguingly, Jordan Chappell and Matthew Harriott both enjoyed run-outs at the New Manor Ground three days ago where a near-1,000-strong crowd watched goals from brothers Harry and Joe Maguire ensure the contest ended in a 1-1 draw.
Chappell put pen to paper on a new contract earlier this summer while The Star understands that Harriott attracted
admiring glances from Fulham 12 months ago.
Despite seeing a loan spell at Burton Albion cut short following Paul Peschisolido’s sacking in March, the former Luton midfielder was included by Wilson in United’s starting 11 for last year’s Carling Cup tie with Everton.
Midfielder Lee Williamson was planning to fly to Malta despite failing to agree a new contract.
As The Star revealed earlier this month, Kevin McDonald, whose deal also expired following the divisional
showpiece with Huddersfield Town, is close to putting pen to paper on fresh terms.
Barring an unforeseen chain of events, an announcement to this effect could be made shortly.
Striker Chris Porter committed his future to United until 2014 before boarding the plane. His contract has an option for a further 12 months.
Meanwhile, supporters travelling to Malta are reminded to forward their contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be kept informed of the various themed events designed to coincide with United’s stay.
Wilson’s squad face Corinthians on Monday.