No Lane return for Matt and Billy

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Sheffield United are beginning to plan for life without loan aces Matt Phillips and Billy Clarke.

The Blackpool duo have been in sparkling form since signing on a 28-day deal 24 hours before the derby match last month.

Winger Phillips has already scored five goals in just four starts, while striker Clarke, who plays as a deep-lying forward behind the main front man, has notched just once but laid on a host of assists.

Saturday’s match at Stevenage will be the last league game they are involved in, although both are expected to play a part in next Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy northern quarter-final tie at Bradford City. Blackpool boss Ian Holloway has already poured cold water on any suggestion of extending the loan spell.

He said: “I sent them out on loan to get them up-to-speed and get them sharp and confident.

“That is what has happened and I am delighted they have done so well. They will be ready to hit the ground running when they return.

“I’m looking forward to when Billy and Matt come back because they’ll be absolutely buzzing so that’ll give me a couple more options.”

It leaves Blades’ boss Danny Wilson searching the loan market to replace the guile and scoring threat that the pair possess.

The Oxford United FA Cup match on November 12 at Bramall Lane is the first game after Clarke and Phillips return to the Seasiders.

It’s likely Wilson will have to go with his remaining squad as clubs from a higher league will not want to ‘cup-tie’ their players.

The Star understands that replacing the pair is a higher priority than bringing in another goalkeeper before the loan window closes on November 24.

Another 254 tickets have been allocated for United fans for Saturday’s game at Stevenage.