Sheffield United: Blades close in on Barry Robson

Barry Robson, left, and Tony McMahon during their Middlesbrough days
Barry Robson, left, and Tony McMahon during their Middlesbrough days
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SHEFFIELD United are poised to sign Barry Robson, the former Scotland international, today as they look to soften the blow of losing top-scorer Nick Blackman.

Robson, who has been training with Middlesbrough, is a free agent, having left Vancouver Whitecaps earlier this month. It is understood the central midfielder, aged 34, has agreed to sign a deal with Danny Wilson’s promotion hopefuls until the end of the season.

Wilson, the United chief, is also aiming to bring in a minimum of one new forward before the transfer window closes at 11pm tonight. United are thought to be monitoring Bradley Wright-Phillips’ situation, with Blackman joining Premier League strugglers Reading last night for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £1.2m. The 23-year-old, who arrived from Blackburn Rovers last summer, struck 14 times in 33 appearances at Bramall Lane, including six penalties.

“It is virtually impossible to hold people back when the Premiership comes calling and this is a great opportunity for Nick,” said Wilson. “He wants to play at the best possible level; we knew that when we signed him, and he goes with our best wishes.

“He is a student of the game and will keep learning his trade at Reading.”

Blackman has penned a three and a half year deal at Reading and admitted he was “very excited” at the move. Reading boss Brian McDermott is delighted to have purchased the Bury-born player.

“He had options elsewhere but he knows that we try to develop our players,” said McDermott. “He’s played a lot of games, and has so much more to come.”