Sheffield United: Blades to step up signings hunt after Stearman blow

Chris Wilder leaves the pitch arm in arm with Billy Sharp at Cardiff
Chris Wilder leaves the pitch arm in arm with Billy Sharp at Cardiff
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Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, reiterated his desire to make further signings after losing Richard Stearman to injury during last night’s match at Cardiff City.

Stearman, who joined United from Fulham earlier this summer, is a doubt for Saturday’s derby against Barnsley after limping-off with a hamstring problem during the 2-0 defeat to Neil Warnock’s side.

Wilder, who has included Blackburn Rovers defender Darragh Lenihan and Conor Coady of Wolverhampton Wanderers on his list of targets, recently acknowledged United must spend wisely as they adapt to life back in the Championship following six years in League One.

After completing deals for seven players since leading the South Yorkshire club to promotion, he could increase their recruitment budget by sanctioning the departure of James Hanson who, The Star understands, has held talks with Scunthorpe.

“I’ve spoken about the fact we could do with someone else at the back and also probably in midfield,” Wilder, who is also tracking Southend captain Ryan Leonard, said. “Possibly up top as well because I thought, although we competed well, the difference out there was that they were better in both boxes. There was nothing wrong with our organisation and we created chances.”

“Richard just felt his hamstring tighten,” Wilder added. “We’ll see how he is. We’ve had a lot of travelling to do and so perhaps our prehab is something we’ll have to look at. But, like I say, the basis for us to compete and do well at this level is there. We just need to get better in a few areas.”

Goals either side of the break from Sean Morrison and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing ensured City remained at the top of the table while Billy Sharp, Paul Coutts and Leon Clarke went close for the visitors.

“We’ve not been embarrassed and it’s a learning curve for us,” Wilder said. “But we’ll have to learn because I don’t want us to keep getting pats on the back and compliments for how we’ve done from opposition managers. I want us to be coming away with three points.”

Warnock, who described Wilder as “the right man” for the United job before kick-off, insisted City were worthy winners but backed the visitors to cause “more than a few upsets” this term.

“It was a really good win,” the 68-year-old, who spent seven-and-a-half seasons in charge at Bramall Lane, “I’d have been quite happy if it had been a rubbish game and we’d come through. But the goal settled us down.

“You could tell they’ve not lost many games, though. They clearly have a lot of confidence and they fight hard for each other. They’ve got some good players. Our goalkeeper pulled off some really good saves and, to be fair, their one did too.”

“The United fans were a credit to themselves and the football club,” Warnock added. “To come down in numbers like that, in midweek especially, you’ve got to take your hat off. They helped to make the atmosphere and it’s great to see them back. They should never have been away to be fair.”