Chris Wilder plans to open contract talks with Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts after revealing they have been removed from the transfer list.
The decision comes after Sheffield United boss Wilder, who invited offers for both players following his appointment in May, praised their performances since being recalled to the starting XI.
“We’ll be looking at the (contract) situation going into January and trying to get a few things sorted out then,” Wilder said. “Even though they wouldn’t be able to leave until then anyway, I think it’s fair to say that the position regarding Kieron and Paul has changed.
“We won’t be trying to do anything right this minute but, if they carry on as they are, then we’ll be speaking to them after Christmas. Probably a few of the other lads who, with regarding to their deals, are in the same boat too. It’s just about being organised and making sure things run smoothly.”
Like Coutts, Freeman is set to become a free agent at the end of the season after also joining United from Derby County in January last year. Stefan Scougall, another player signed by former manager Nigel Clough, expressed his desire to remain in South Yorkshire beyond next summer after forcing his way back into United’s plans.
Although it ultimately worked to his advantage, Wilder was privately alarmed by the number of contracts which were set to expire when he replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm five months ago. United released 10 players and made another seven available for transfer after finishing 11th in League One last term.
They are now fourth following Saturday’s draw at Fleetwood Town.
“We don’t really want to find ourselves in a position where we are trying to negotiate with lots of people at the same time,” Wilder said. “It’s not ideal and it can cause a distraction so it’s something we’re planning to address.
“But, it’s fair to say, that nobody can relax. Because, as we’ve seen, things in football can quickly change.”