DAVID McAllister hopes his performances on loan at Shrewsbury Town last season will be rewarded with a place in Sheffield United’s starting eleven next term.
The Irish midfielder made 15 appearances for Graham Turner’s side earlier this year and emerged as a instrumental figure in the Shropshire club’s successful promotion campaign.
But having returned to United ahead of their ill-fated bid to restore Bramall Lane’s Championship status, McAllister now has his sights firmly set on establishing himself as a key member of Danny Wilson’s squad.
“David really benefited from going to Shrewsbury,” Wilson, the United manager, said.
“He should be able to put the things he learned there to good effect here with us.”
Speaking last month, Wilson added: “I’ve already seen a difference in David during training sessions.”
McAllister has made six starts for United since arriving from St Patrick’s Athletic in January 2011.
Although his combative style and indefatigable spirit have seen Wilson tip the 23-year-old as a star in the making, McAllister’s explosive temperament has so far prevented him from fulfilling the potential which earned a move to South Yorkshire with compatriot Seamus Conneely nearly 18 months ago.
While Conneely was a victim of the cull which followed United’s League One play-off final defeat by Huddersfield Town, continued exposure to competitive action has enabled McAllister to curb the excesses which once saw him substituted during the first-half of a League One fixture at Scunthorpe.
With doubts surrounding the future of Stephen Quinn and Lee Williamson, McAllister could be handed an early opportunity to impress when United face Burton Albion in the first round of Capital One Cup in August.
Wilson, who is still waiting to learn whether Chris Porter, Lee Williamson and Kevin McDonald will accept his offer of a new contract, frequently challenged his team to score more goals from deeper positions last season.
Barring injury, McAllister seems certain to be among the travelling party which visits Malta for a week long training camp on July 20.
Indeed, he marked his first start in United colours by scoring from range in a 3-2 win over Bristol City.
McAllister will discover when he could face an emotional return to Shrewsbury’s Greenhous Meadow when the new League One fixtures are unveiled this morning.
United have been negotiating with an unnamed Serie A club aimed at arranging a friendly during their stay in the Mediterranean.
They could also face local opposition having previously competed against the likes of Hibernians, Floriana, Vittoriosa Stars and Sliema.
Fixtures at Ilkeston Town (July 18), Rotherham United (July 31) and Morecambe (August 4) have already been announced.
Officials also hope to play a match at Bramall Lane on August 7 before hosting Albion on either August 14 or August 15.
Meanwhile, Wilson will continue the process of identifying new transfer targets later this week.
Hibernian youngster David Wotherspoon, Wycombe Wanderers’ Stuart Beavon and Ben Parker, previously of Leeds, are known to feature on his wanted list.
United have placed their season tickets for the 2012/13 campaign on general sale.