Sheffield United: Why Blades boss Chris Wilder is unable to gamble in key position

Jake Eastwood of Sheffield Utd during the pre season friendly at the Aesseal New York Stadium, Rotherham. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Jake Eastwood of Sheffield Utd during the pre season friendly at the Aesseal New York Stadium, Rotherham. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Sheffield United will intensify their search for a new goalkeeper this week after manager Chris Wilder admitted he is unwilling to gamble solely on rookie stopper Jake Eastwood.

United’s preparations for the new Championship season were dealt a blow on Friday evening, when first-choice ‘keeper Simon Moore was stretchered off at Rotherham after appearing to damage his knee.

Moore underwent a scan on the injury over the weekend, and 20-year-old Eastwood performed admirably at the New York Stadium after replacing him in United’s 2-1 victory.

Wilder, who has been actively looking for a goalkeeper since sanctioning George Long’s season-long loan move to AFC Wimbledon, was full of praise for his young goalkeeper - but admits he won’t be thrown in the deep end when the season kicks off on August 5, at home to Brentford.

“I thought Jake did well,” Wilder, who hopes to unveil John Lundstram as his latest summer signing this week, said.

“He showed the ability and the potential he’s got.

“But, and he knows this, we obviously can’t just go into the season with Jake. We need more if Simon isn’t going to be available.

“We’ll just have to see how he is. We should know more when he’s had the scan.”

Eastwood impressed with his handling and shot-stopping against a physical Millers outfit, and made one particularly superb stop to deny Kieffer Moore in a one-on-one situation.

“Jake did everything that was asked of him and made some good saves,” Wilder added.

“He was also protected well by the players in front of him and that was good to see. That’s what it’s all about.”

Wilder, meanwhile, confirmed his pursuit of Oxford skipper Lundstram after Friday’s combative friendly against the Millers.

Pep Clotet, Wilder’s opposite number at Oxford, revealed his captain is Bramall Lane-bound in the build-up to the fixture and admitted he rejected four separate contract offers to keep him at the Kassam Stadium.

“John Lundstram is an important player who can play in the Championship and he must go for the value that reflects that,” Clotet said.

“It’s good for him and the club.”

Wilder added: “I think it’s on record about John. It’s gone upstairs now. The people up there are dealing with it.

“We have to pick players from different pots. We’re looking to bring in people who can improve us and who we feel can make the step up.”

United return to Bramall Lane for the first time since winning the League One title tonight, when they entertain Stoke City in their penultimate pre-season friendly (7.45pm).