Blades: Beattie new deal

Fans' hero: James  Beattie
Fans' hero: James Beattie
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Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson last night confirmed James Beattie will be offered the chance to stay at Bramall Lane when his short-term contract expires.

Beattie, a former England international, is set to become a free agent following today’s League One fixture at Bury after signing a two-month agreement in November.

Admitting the final decision rests with the player himself, Wilson said: “I’ve made up my mind and James knows what we think of him.

“He’s great to have around and if his presence has kept the other strikers on their toes then great.

“He gives everyone a lift and when James comes on the roar that goes up is brilliant. He’s not played as much as he’d have liked but he has made an impact when he’s come on.”

Beattie has played just over an hour of competitive football since returning to South Yorkshire and is expected to start on the bench when second-placed United face Bury today. Nearly 5,000 supporters could follow them to Gigg Lane after Richie Barker’s side released an extra 2,000 tickets for sale on the away turnstiles.

Wilson added: “James has been unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet because he gets in all the right areas. He’s had some near-misses but when he gets his sharpness completely back then those will get tucked away.

“James isn’t fit enough to start yet and, deep down, I

suspect even he would admit that but there’s half a season to go. First and foremost, James must decide if he

wants to stay but he knows what people think of him here.”

Although Wilson recently revealed the 33-year-old’s initial deal is about to expire, he did indicate it contained a clause enabling

Beattie to remain in South Yorkshire until after next weekend’s visit to Charlton.

Thanking United’s fans for their “phenomenal backing on the road”, Wilson nevertheless warned them the meeting with Bury could prove an awkward affair.

“Bury have lost a good player (Mike Jones) to Sheffield Wednesday but they’ve got a good one in David Worrall ready to come in,” he said.

n Blades: P43