SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson last night refused to rule out the possibility of bringing James Beattie back to Bramall Lane.
But Wilson, who confirmed he has held informal talks with the player and his representative, dismissed reports that the former England striker is definitely poised to make what would be a sensational return to South Yorkshire.
Beattie, who scored 34 goals in 65 appearances for United before joining Stoke City two years ago, was released by Glasgow Rangers earlier this month following an injury-plagued spell at Ibrox.
Wilson said: “We have asked James if he’d like to come but he’s not anywhere near fit at the moment.
“The situation is that he won’t consider doing anything or look at going anywhere until he feels he can do himself justice.
“The talk wasn’t anything formal. It was just an informal conversation.
“I’m sure we won’t be the only club interested.”
With United looking to cut costs after being relegated to League One, Beattie would have to accept a huge cut in wages before being considered a realistic target.
Wilson, who admitted he was “disappointed” by the Football League’s decision to veto a move for Rangers duo Kyle Hutton and John Fleck, acknowledged it is “imperative” he drafts in reinforcements during the emergency loan window.
Bolstering United’s defensive options is Wilson’s most pressing concern.
“That’s the main priority,” he said. “The other two lads (Fleck and Hutton) were a bonus. It’s not affected the squad, though.
“But the back four is definitely more of a priority than attack.”
Wilson added: “We had hoped to bring someone in before Saturday but it doesn’t look as if that’s going to be possible.”