Keeper Long may go on says Blades boss

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SHEFFIELD United could allow youngsters such as George Long, their coveted teenage goalkeeper, to leave Bramall Lane on loan next month as manager Danny Wilson looks to expose the South Yorkshire club’s youngsters to the rigours of professional competition.

Wilson, whose side remain third in the League One table following Saturday’s win at Yeovil Town, warned rivals he has “no interest” in allowing influential members of his squad to depart after the transfer window closes later this week.

But he acknowledged that bids for the most promising graduates of United’s development programme will be encouraged when football re-opens for business.

“If anyone goes then people are going to have to purchase them,” Wilson said. “They’re not going anywhere on loan because that market has got no value for us whatsoever.

“But some of the up-and-coming lads we’ve got can benefit from it so that’s something we might look at.”

Long made his senior debut when United, having already been relegated from the Championship a week before, travelled to Swansea City on the final day of last season. Despite conceding four goals at The Liberty Stadium, the youngster is regarded as a first-team player in waiting and attracted admiring glances from Aston Villa in the run to the FA Youth Cup final.

A decision on Long’s future could depend upon whether United lose any of their big name stars before Wednesday’s deadline.

Wilson would like to recruit former Hull stalwart Matt Duke to provide Steve Simonsen with competition between the posts. But that could hinge upon United’s ability to generate their own funds.

United return to action in the JP Trophy at Burton Albion tomorrow but captain Nick Montgomery is almost certain to miss out after being stretchered off as a precautionary measure at Yeovil.