Thanks old boys!

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WHETHER they will still be in residence at the end of the transfer window or, for that matter, when Sheffield United travel to Oldham on Saturday afternoon, remains open to debate.

But, despite the doubt surrounding their long-term futures, Danny Wilson has no complaints about the attitude of his elder statesmen at Bramall Lane.

Indeed the United manager last night paid tribute to the likes of Nick Montgomery and Stephen Quinn for setting “the perfect example” to the club’s younger players throughout what has been an eventful pre-season campaign: “Their approach and commitment has been absolutely excellent,” said Wilson.

“Their professionalism is superb and they’ve shown that they’re totally dedicated to this club.”

In a perfect world Wilson, who took charge following United’s relegation from the Championship in May, would prefer to retain the services of his midfield duo as he seeks to usher in a new era of continuity behind the scenes.

But his new employer’s League One status, combined with the harsh financial realities of life in English football’s third tier, has left them vulnerable to hostile offers from elsewhere.

A far from ideal situation given the work Wilson and his assistant Frank Barlow have put in over the course of the past three months.

But one which, the former Northern Ireland international acknowledges, is one they must confront head on rather than gripe about behind the scenes.

“We know what the challenges are and so we try to deal with them,” he said.

The possibility that Montgomery, Quinn and their fellow midfielder Lee Williamson could be poached before Bury visit South Yorkshire on September 3rd represents one of the greatest threats to Wilson’s hopes of transforming United’s ‘route one’ image.

Doncaster Rovers and Blackpool, their most recent opponents, were hand-picked to help accelerate the process of change with players encouraged to respect possession rather than put their faith in percentages.

However, should his starting eleven be picked apart at the eleventh hour, Wilson could be faced with the unenviable prospect of trying to deliver both performances and results with a hastily assembled squad.

Oldham, who host United this weekend, have also endured a tumultuous summer with 10 players allowed to leave during a major restructuring exercise.

Warren Feeney could become the latest high profile departure from Boundary Park with Plymouth Argyle yesterday closing in on his signature.