Trial goes to extra time

Early action: Keeper Ben Alnwick makes his United debut at Stocksbridge just 24 hours after arriving.    Picture: Peter Goldstraw
Early action: Keeper Ben Alnwick makes his United debut at Stocksbridge just 24 hours after arriving. Picture: Peter Goldstraw
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Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson is deciding whether to sign trialist Ben Alnwick to boost his options between the sticks.

It is no secret Wilson wants to strengthen the goalkeeping department at Bramall Lane and put first-choice shot-stopper Steve Simonsen under pressure for a first-team jersey.

A new shot-stopper and striker are top of Wilson’s shopping list before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Alnwick, once a £900,000 signing, arrived at United on Monday and was handed a start 24 hours later in the club’s final pre-season outing, at local rivals Stocksbridge. The 24-year-old kept a clean sheet as a youthful side recorded a 4-0 victory.

“He didn’t have a great deal to do unfortunately because the team played so well in front of him so it was difficult to judge him,” Wilson told The Star.

“We will try to keep him here a bit longer.

“We have to make sure that he is right for us and we are right for him. It works both ways.

“There is a possibility we could sign him on loan. We will keep talking to him and see if he fits the bill or not.”

It was more than six years ago Alnwick made his debut at Sunderland at the age of 18.

Capped at under-16 and 18 level by England, the Prudhoe-born player joined Spurs in January 2007 for a fee of £900,000.

However, he has started just three matches at White Hart Lane and been farmed out on loan to Luton, Leicester, Carlisle and Norwich.

Leeds and Doncaster Rovers also signed Alnwick last term on a temporary basis but he failed to make an appearance at either club.

While Wilson is assessing Alnwick’s qualities, he is refusing to rule out offering a contract to experienced shot-stopper Matt Duke, who has been training with United in recent weeks.

He said: “We will sit down and have a chat with Matt before the weekend. Nothing has been agreed at this time.

“My options are still open. If we are going to bring somebody in, they have got to be right for us. I won’t be rushed into it. I will make sure it is the correct one.”

Following a request from the police, United’s clash at Yeovil has been brought forward by two hours on August 27 and will kick off at 1pm.