DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, admits he would prefer not to play Andy Taylor over the New Year period.
If Haiti international Lecsinel Jean-Francois fails to shake off a groin strain in time for this afternoon’s encounter with Hartlepool United, Wilson could be forced into selecting Taylor in the left-back spot. The Blades, seven points off league leaders Charlton Athletic, also lock horns with Carlisle United on Monday.
Taylor has not played since last Boxing Day when he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in the 3-2 loss to Hull City.
Wilson said: “Andy has been training with us for the last couple of weeks and he’s getting stronger and fitter all the time. He has not played any games yet so we would like to see him in competitive games to assess where exactly he is fitness wise.
“We could throw him in if it became necessary but in an ideal world we would not do it.”
With Stephen Quinn and Richard Cresswell banned, Wilson already has to make two enforced alterations to his starting line-up and the former Pool boss is hoping Jean-Francois is passed fit and available for selection.
He said: “Lecs picked up a slight groin strain against Notts County. We are hoping he will be okay. We are going to give him as long as possible.”
One of the first pieces of business Wilson is looking to complete when the transfer market reopens is bringing Marcus Williams back to Bramall Lane. The Reading full-back played 14 times for the Blades before his emergency loan deal expired in mid-December.
United are bidding to sign Doncaster-born Williams on a free transfer in the New Year and Wilson said: “Negotiations can take a bit longer than you would want at times but we are expecting Marcus to be back. We are keeping our fingers crossed on that one.”
Hartlepool had suffered four defeats on the spin before claiming a 1-0 victory at Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day.
Buoyed by the appointment of Neale Cooper as manager, Pool head to South Yorkshire searching for their seventh away win of the campaign.