DANNY Coyne, the Sheffield United goalkeeper, will remain at Bramall Lane until at least the end of January after securing another short-term contract with the League One club.
Coyne, previously of Wales, Tranmere Rovers and Middlesbrough, put pen to paper on his new deal yesterday following confirmation that Mark Howard is unlikely to return from injury over the Christmas period.
Danny Wilson, the United manager, recruited Coyne to provide cover for George Long when Howard tore a muscle during October’s victory over Leyton Orient.
With his initial agreement set to expire before this weekend’s visit to Crawley Town, Wilson moved to retain Coyne’s services for another month after revealing that Howard will take no part in forthcoming games against Scunthorpe, Hartlepool, Doncaster and Richie Barker’s side.
Speaking before Saturday’s draw with Rovers, which saw United stay third in the table, Wilson said: “Mark is coming along well but he will need matches.
“The same goes for anyone else who has been out for a while.
“The difficulty is that we don’t have any under-21 fixtures for a while but when we do, we’ll look to get him involved in those.
“There’s no point in taking unnecessary risks with people.
“We want to look after them properly.”
Coyne, an unused substitute for the past seven games, has amassed a wealth of experience since turning professional with Rovers two decades ago.
Aged 39, he won 16 international caps between 1996 and 2007 and boasts over 500 appearances at domestic level.
Together with coach Darren Ward, Wilson has credited Coyne with helping accelerate Long’s development, saying: “Keepers are always a close-knit bunch.
“Darren has been excellent with him and working with someone like Danny, who has also been there, seen it and done it, can only help George improve.
“Being able to draw upon the knowledge they’ve got must be absolutely brilliant for him.
“And invaluable too.”
Dave Kitson, who completed his recovery from a hamstring complaint with a second-half cameo against Rovers, recently committed his immediate future to United.
Fellow centre-forward Matt Derbyshire, who has been linked with United in some quarters, has informed Oldham Athletic he would prefer to broker a permanent transfer away from Nottingham Forest during the forthcoming window rather than arranging another loan.
Wilson has also indicated that defender Lecsinel Jean-Francois is making progress in his battle to overcome a cartilage complaint.
“Lecsy has been working really hard, just like the rest of the lads, and it’s great to see someone with that attitude,” Wilson said.
“He’s like Mark because we don’t want to take any risks and ask too much too soon and not manage things
“We’ll also been looking to get Lecsy involved with some under-21 games when they opportunity arises.”