MARCUS Williams remains on course to be confirmed as a Sheffield United player when the transfer window re-opens next month.
The full-back, who recently completed a 12-week loan from Reading, has remained in South Yorkshire despite being ineligible for selection after his temporary contract expired.
And, in a further show of solidarity with Danny Wilson’s squad, Williams was a member of the party which travelled to Bournemouth last weekend before celebrating Christmas with his former teammates following their 2-0 victory in Dorset.
Reading’s willingness to allow him to train at Shirecliffe confirmed the 25-year-old’s suspicions that he has no future at the Madejski Stadium where sources last night reiterated manager Brian McDermott recent pledged not to scupper a move.
“The pair of them sat down at the start of the season and discussed the situation,” one told The Star. “It was amicable and Brian admitted then that he could understand Marcus needed to play football.
“He (Williams) knows that if someone comes in for him – and United have – that things won’t be made difficult for him.
“It is difficult to see him forcing his way into the team here and he did well and enjoyed himself at Bramall Lane so it would seem to be a good fit for all parties.”
Those words match Williams’ assessment of his situation soon after returning to his native South Yorkshire.
Talks between the Doncaster-born defender and United’s hierarchy are set to continue ahead of next week’s League One fixture with Notts County.
Williams’ presence in Bournemouth indicates they are close to reaching a formal agreement.
Although there remains a slim possibility that could collapse, Wilson could name him in the team which travels to Carlisle on January 2 .
Williams is also free to face Salisbury in the FA Cup, having represented United earlier in the tournament.
“I’m no different to anyone else,” he said. “I want to be playing and I want to be involved.
“I’m really happy here and all of the lads have made me feel really welcome. It’s nice to be at home again.
“It can be a bit difficult to settle when you live quite a long
way away and you aren’t getting a game.”
Meanwhile, ninth-placed County can use their trip to United as a springboard back into promotion contention according to captain Neal Bishop.
Martin Allen’s side also face Huddersfield Town over the festive period and Bishop said: “We’ll be fully focused when we go to Bramall Lane.
“There is nothing to fear in this league and we’re looking forward to those games because we want to play against the big teams.
“We fought hard to get into this division to play these clubs and so we’ll relish it.”
United are third after winning their last six outings and Wilson said: “We always have to try and keep upping our game because that’s the nature of the business we are in.
“We haven’t achieved anything yet so we’ve got keep working hard and doing the right things.”