Blades’ duo must stake a derby match claim

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SHEFFIELD United duo Danny Philliskirk and Erik Tonne have been challenged to force themselves into first team contention as the countdown to Sunday’s Steel City derby continues.

Danny Wilson, the Blades’ manager, threw down the gauntlet as his team’s preparations for Sheffield Wednesday’s visit began in earnest. “Danny and Erik can both put themselves in really strong positions,” he said.

“They’re both young players who we rate very highly. Danny came on in our (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy) tie at Rotherham recently and showed what he can do in an admittedly short spell. He’s very strong technically and very good on the ball.

“Of course there are areas where he can improve and one of those is when it comes to applying the finishing touches.

“We want to make sure that when he does really good work it doesn’t go to waste. I’m pleased he’s here because Danny’s a really promising prospect.”

Although Philliskirk enjoyed a brief run-out at Don Valley Stadium, Tonne has not featured since last month’s draw with Scunthorpe. United have been paired with Bradford City in the Northern Area quarter-final(week commencing November 7.)

“Like Danny, there are areas where Erik can get better but that goes without saying,” added Wilson.

“He’s another one we rate highly but people have also got to remember that, in the grand scheme of things, these lads haven’t played much football and are still right at the start of their careers.”

United, who hope to re-enter the loan market shortly, dropped to seventh in League One after a blank weekend in their fixture calendar. Preston had been scheduled to host Wilson’s side at Deepdale on Saturday but the match, which now takes place on October 19, was postponed due to international commitments.

United hope to extend Marcus Williams’ loan from Reading. The full-back’s initial deal is set to expire before Wednesday’s arrival.