James set to be back on the beat for Blades

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JAMES Beattie could make his long-awaited return to action when Sheffield United host Torquay in the FA Cup.

Beattie, who joined the South Yorkshire club on a short-term deal last month, will feature on the bench for Danny Wilson’s side providing he suffers no adverse reaction to the fitness test Bramall Lane’s medical staff were set to perform last night.

Wilson, who also confirmed defender Marcus Williams wants to stay at United when his loan from Reading expires next month, said: “James isn’t match fit but we’ll see if he is clinically fit.

“In an ideal world he would be nowhere near being involved but this isn’t an ideal world unfortunately.

“The good thing is that’s he’s experienced and so he knows what he has to do. With a younger lad we probably wouldn’t consider doing it.

“But because he’s been in the game a long time he can be conservative and work smarter.”

Beattie scored 34 goals in 65 appearances after becoming United’s record signing following a £4m move from Everton in 2007. However, he has not started a competitive fixture since April.

Wilson, who also said Lee Williamson (calf) and Richard Cresswell (virus) will join Nick Montgomery in the squad for today’s second round tie, added: “We’re not putting James under any pressure though because there isn’t any pressure.

“He’s worked hard in training and he’s put himself in a position where it’s possible to think about letting him have a run but there’s still a long way to go until he’s got that match sharpness.

“The problem is that the reserve team programme is so intermittent these days so we’re going to have to organise some behind closed-doors friendlies for him and also sort out some matches amongst ourselves.

“We are in the process of doing that now.”