SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades boss Danny Wilson stands by old guard

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SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson has warned that allowing all of his most experienced players to leave Bramall Lane before the start of the new League One season could jeopardise plans to promote home-grown talent.

With the futures of high-earners such as Nick Montgomery and Stephen Quinn in doubt following United’s failure to win promotion last term, senior figures at the South Yorkshire club have confirmed the most promising graduates of its Shirecliffe youth academy will be considered for first team places when Wilson’s side return to competitive action against Burton Albion on August 11.

But despite acknowledging the likes of midfielder Elliott Whitehouse and goalkeeper George Long are ready to “take the next step of their careers,” Wilson insisted: “It’s important they’ve got the right people around them.

“We’ve seen before that youngsters can flourish but there will be times when they need guidance so if we lose some (experience) we’ll have to bring it in.”

Wilson, who was last night still waiting to learn whether Lee Williamson, Kevin McDonald and Chris Porter will accept new contracts, has identified numerous transfer targets including Stuart Beavon, Jeffrey Schlupp, David Wotherspoon, Gary Kenneth, John Fleck and Ben Parker.

Fleck, who seems destined to leave stricken Glasgow giants Rangers, also interests Coventry City.