TRIALISTS including Kevin McDonald, Iain Turner and Alex Kruk will be handed an opportunity to earn contracts with Sheffield United, manager Danny Wilson last night confirmed, after revealing all three are poised to feature against Doncaster Rovers this evening.
United play the penultimate match of their pre-season campaign when Sean O’Driscoll’s side visit Bramall Lane for a contest which, according to Wilson, represents the toughest test of his reign so far.
An unnamed Australian could also feature for the hosts after being invited to train at Shirecliffe although, coaching staff admitted yesterday, tomorrow’s reserve team fixture at Alfreton could prove a more suitable environment for the youngster to showcase his talents.
Dismissing reports that United can not make another foray into the transfer market until Ched Evans has been sold, Wilson said: “We do have the scope to add to our squad at the moment.
“But, of course, that’s at a certain level.
“It’s not going to be a £1m player coming in right now if we’re being realistic.
“We’ve still got a budget that we’ve got to try and stick to and that’s not being met at the moment.
“But there is room for manoeuvre.
“We’ve got our finger on the pulse.
“People shouldn’t worry about that.
“And we’re trying to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of recruitment.”
McDonald, aged 22, was recently released by Burnley having finished the 2010/11 campaign on loan at Notts County.
A former Scotland under-21 international, the midfielder has also represented Scunthorpe and Dundee.
Like his compatriot, Turner, 27, is a free agent after severing his ties with Everton.
“We’re hopeful both Kevin and Iain will play some part (against Rovers),” added Wilson. “We want to make sure there’s competition for places across the board here.
“Be that competition is games or even in the sessions we do during the week because it keeps everyone on their toes and helps to raise levels of performance.”
Kruk arrived in England earlier this month and impressed during United’s recent tour of Malta.
Oliver Stang, his VFL Osnabruck team mate, returned to Germany before Wilson’s squad flew to the Mediterranean.
But, having been encouraged by Kruk’s attitude both on and off the pitch, United’s coaching staff have identified him as a player worthy of further consideration.
“We’re having another look at Alex and then we’ll make a final judgement,” said Wilson.
“What I like about him is that he can play in a number of different positions like left-back or centre-half and we don’t have too many here who can perform a few different roles.
“I’ve always been a believer in getting people like that in because it gives you more flexibility and means you are better prepared should different scenarios arise.
“Alex also did well with the rest of the boys out in Malta.
“He’s clearly got a good attitude about him which is important and, on top of that, he’s got a good physical stature too.
“So we’ll be taking another look.”
United entertain Rovers’ Championship rivals Blackpool on Sunday afternoon before August 6th’s League One curtain-raiser at Oldham Athletic.
Wilson, who has yet to taste defeat since taking charge in May, said: “They’re both teams from a higher division than us so they’ll both be good tests.
“And, despite what happened here last season, we’ve still got good players ourselves.
“Everything is geared towards Oldham now but I’m sure that a lot of our lads will want to prove a point by putting in good displays in these two games.
“They’ll want to show that they are still capable of competing at that level.
“Both Doncaster and Blackpool play a good, attractive brand of football and we’ll be trying to do the same thing here.”