No age concern as United talk to Weir

Free agent: Former Arsenal goalkeeper Mark Howard is with United after leaving Blackpool this week
Free agent: Former Arsenal goalkeeper Mark Howard is with United after leaving Blackpool this week
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SHEFFIELD United will continue to hold talks with David Weir aimed at offering the veteran defender a contract at Bramall Lane, manager Danny Wilson has confirmed.

Wilson, who also revealed goalkeeper Mark Howard is training at Shirecliffe after leaving Blackpool, drew comparisons between the 41-year-old’s situation and the one which eventually saw his former Glasgow Rangers teammate, James Beattie, pen a short-term agreement with the South Yorkshire club last month.

Weir has been working with United’s first-team squad since severing his ties with Ally McCoist’s side three weeks ago and Wilson said: “We’ve not put anything on the table in front of David yet.

“It’s a similar process to the one we had with James when he first came here.

“Ideally we’d like to see him (Weir) in some games but we’ll continue talking to him as we did with James.”

Weir, who has made more than 700 appearances for the likes of Heart of Midlothian, Everton and the Scottish Premier League champions, last played a first-team fixture in July when Malmo visited Ibrox.

Wilson, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s League One fixture with Wycombe Wanderers, said: “I’ve got no problems about David’s age.

“Am I convinced he can still do it? I know he can still do it.

“He might not be as quick as he was but his forward thinking, his reflexes and his mind will be twice as sharp as someone who is 19.

“Nothing has been offered to him yet. But, like I say, we’ll be talking.”

Having welcomed the decision not to dismantle a team which enters the meeting with Gary Waddock’s side fourth in the table during the recent transfer window, Wilson yesterday indicated he would like to strengthen the options at his disposal ahead of a critical run of games.

United, who travel to third -placed Huddersfield Town next week, are monitoring Howard’s situation as they look to strengthen a department where there is an acute shortage of experienced cover.

Howard started his career at Arsenal and was an unused substitute during the 2005 Community Shield against Chelsea.

The 25-year-old, who later joined St Mirren, spent five months at Bloomfield Road ear

lier this term following a brief spell with Aberdeen.

Ian Holloway, the Blackpool manager, had wanted to retain Howard’s services but an agreement could not be reached.

“Mark is here on trial,” Wilson said. “He’s one that I’m looking at.

“Hopefully nothing will happen to any of the goalkeepers we’ve already got but, if it does, then we could really do with having someone else in there as well.

“We already know a lot about Mark.

“We’ve seen him play in the Championship already this season and he’s a free agent.”

United will be looking to

avenge September’s defeat at Adams Park when Wanderers travel north tomorrow.

Despite enjoying several gilt-edged opportunities to claim what would have been a deserved draw, the visitors failed to cancel out Stuart Beavon’s first-half goal.

Wilson said: “I think we’re a much better side than we were then.

“We’re more consistent, we create more chances and we are taking them now at a better rate.

“But we’ll still have to be at our best because Wycombe will be coming here wanting to get one over on us.

Having seen last weekend’s visit to Colchester postponed due to a frozen pitch at the Weston Homes Community

Stadium, United have played two games less than Town and arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday who are second.

Trailing their neighbours by four points, Wilson’s men seem perfectly placed to challenge for an instant return to the Championship after being relegated last season.

Nevertheless, the adverse weather conditions have continued to affect their preparations, with tomorrow’s academy fixture at Newcastle also set to be re-scheduled due to the hosts’ involvement in the FA Youth Cup.

United reserves have yet to unveil a new date for their postponed Central League clash at Walsall but last night announced Stoke City’s visit is being brought forward 24 hours to Tuesday February 21 and will take place at Shirecliffe rather than Bramall Lane (kick-off 1pm).

Wilson said: “We’re not even looking at the games in hand that we’ve got.

“We’re not looking at them because they mean nothing to us.

“Games in hand mean nothing whereas points mean everything.

“Games in hand don’t win you the league.

“It’s a shame having games called off and we don’t want to find ourselves in a position whereby we are having to win lots to play catch-up with those above.

“But everyone is in the same situation with thw weather and that’s some cold comfort for us.”

Teams and ref

UNITED (possible): Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Williams, Williamson, Doyle, McDonald, Quinn, Evans, Hoskins (4-4-2).

WYCOMBE (possible): Bull, Winfield, Basey, Johnson, Laing, Bloomfield, Ainsworth, Whichelow, Harper, Strevens, Beavon (4-4-2).

Dean Mohareb: Will be making his first ever visit to Bramall Lane having been promoted to the Football League list only this season. Based in Lancashire, he averages 2.85 cautions per game. Took charge of his first Championship fixture - Blackpool versus Coventry - last month.

History lesson

Danny Wilson’s players will need no reminding that Wycombe won the only previous league meeting between these two sides - at Adams Park in September - courtesy of a solitary Stuart Beavon goal. However, tomorrow’s visitors were beaten 4-1 in the League Cup at Bramall Lane in 2002.