Sheffield United: Wigan Athletic are dealt a huge blow ahead of New Year's Day clash with Chris Wilder's side

Lee Evans will join Wigan Athletic permanently this weekLee Evans will join Wigan Athletic permanently this week
Lee Evans will join Wigan Athletic permanently this week
Lee Evans will not be able to play against Sheffield United for Wigan Athletic tomorrow, under the terms of the loan agreement which saw him move to the DW Stadium earlier this season.

Evans, who also missed October's meeting between the two clubs at Bramall Lane, is set to join Paul Cook's side on a permanent basis later this month for a fee in excess of the £750,000 United paid to sign him from Wolverhampton Wanderers midway through last term.

With the English Football League's administrators unable to process transfers until Wednesday morning, Wilder said: "It does seem strange, in this day and age, that paperwork can't get done on New Year's Day. But that's how it is. Lee is there on loan and, because he's on loan, he can't face us." 

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Cook publicly rebuked United for refusing him permission to select Evans nine weeks ago, although the Athletic manager privately acknowledged he understood Wilder's decision. The Athletic manager's frustration stemmed from the fact Ryan Leonard, who moved to Millwall on a similar basis in August, had faced his parent club at The Den five games earlier. But unlike United's latest opponents, the Londoners had insisted that Leonard be available before agreeing to pay £1m for his services.

Wilder, who counts Cook as a close friend, said: "Paul speaks the same language as me, albeit in a slightly different accent. He talks straight and is always ready to come into the office for a beer afterwards."