Sheffield United bank on two new signings in battle to avoid relegation

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SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams predicted new signings Bjorn Helge Riise and Sam Vokes will inject fresh impetus into his team’s battle for Championship survival.

Adams, speaking after last night’s draw with Reading, which saw United remain 22nd in the table, cited the duo’s ability and experience as being important factors behind the decision to recruit them on loan.

Their presence is likely to accelerate Jamie Ward’s departure from Bramall Lane, with Derby County understood to be favourites for his signature.

Adams said: “We haven’t scored or created enough lately and hopefully they can help us rectify that.

“Bjorn played for his country not so long ago so that tells you all you need to know about his qualities.

“Sam is also an international. You can see he needs some games but he’s a big lad - in the Darius Henderson mould if you like - and he can handle himself.”

Confirming Nick Montgomery’s knee injury is not as serious as first feared - “He’s seen the specialist and he doesn’t need an operation. It should be four rather than six weeks” - Adams revealed Vokes’ move was brought forward when Ched Evans was taken ill yesterday.

“Initially Sam had been set up for the weekend,” he added. “He was due to play a reserve- team match but then I was told about Ched.”

Riise, who started his United career on the bench, arrives for the rest of the season from Fulham. An established Norwegian international, he was a member of the squad which reached the Europa League Final eight months ago but has been used only sparingly since Roy Hodgson’s departure.

The 27-year-old midfielder, who can also play on the wing, counts Standard Liege and Lillestrom among his previous clubs.

Vokes, by contrast, is scheduled to spend just 33 days in South Yorkshire having completed a short-term move from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The striker, who will return to the Midlands following next month’s derby with Leeds, partnered Richard Cresswell in attack against Brian McDermott’s side.

Shane Long’s late opener threatened to condemn United to a potentially damaging defeat but Daniel Bogdanovic converted his second penalty in as many games to rescue a point for the hosts who return to action at fellow strugglers Crystal Palace on Saturday.