DANNY Wilson has warned Sheffield United’s League One rivals that some of his squad’s most familiar names have yet to discover their full potential.
Although Wilson’s manoeuvres in the transfer market continue to dominate the news agenda at Bramall Lane, the United manager is confident of coaxing even greater levels of performance out of players such as Michael Doyle next term.
Confirmation that Kevin McDonald has put pen to paper on a new contract was welcomed by team mates and coaching staff alike during last week’s Malta tour.
But despite telling The Star that he hopes of sign “two, possibly even three” new faces before Saturday’s visit to Morecambe, Wilson said: “We’ve got lads here - like Doyler for example - who I know can get even better.
“It doesn’t matter what stage of your career you are at - the start, middle or towards the end - you can always improve and I know players like him will because they’ve got the attitude.
“How do we help that process? We put our trust in them and allow them to go onto the pitch with a freedom to show what they can do.
“There’s a framework there, of course, but they are given the room to work within it and also make decisions and try things for themselves.
“Doyler, although he doesn’t always get the credit for this, is a good illustration.
“People think he’s got certain attributes and he has but, at the same time, he is also a fantastic technical footballer who, to my mind, got better and better as the season went on.”
Wilson, whose side amassed 90 points and scored 92 goals last season, added: “It’s not always about who comes in.
“You’ve also got to recognise that it’s about improving the people we’ve already got and I know they’re more than capable of doing that because we’ve got some excellent characters and players with the right attitude about them.
“There are, though, areas where we need to strengthen and we’ve never made any secret of that.”
Crewe Alexandra striker Shaun Miller and Middlesbrough defender Tony McMahon both feature on United’s radar although senior figures behind the scenes admit at least one high profile departure is likely before the end of the transfer window.
A combination of defeat in May’s play-off final at Wembley and the implementation of new financial measures means directors must oversee a significant reduction in expenditure.
Wilson used a question and answer session with supporters during United’s stay in the Mediterranean to acknowledge Lee Williamson is “unlikely” to follow McDonald’s lead and agree a fresh deal.
Indeed, it is understood Williamson will shortly be ordered to stay away from United’s training complex at Shirecliffe unless he relents and accepts what has been described as “a very competitive financial package” for a club in England’s third tier.
Chris Porter, the former Derby County centre-forward, became the first of Wilson’s out-of-contract players to commit his future to United before their friendly at Ilkeston earlier this month.
Wilson said: “Macca got a lot of the plaudits last season and quite rightly so.
“Doyler - and quite a few others for that matter - went under the radar a bit but they contribute as much.”