SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades issue an ultimatum to midfield star

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SHEFFIELD United will order Lee Williamson not to report back for pre-season training unless he pledges to sign a new contract, writes James Shield.

The Star understands that United, who last night confirmed Kevin McDonald has committed his future to Bramall Lane, are poised to hand the midfielder an ultimatum. Danny Wilson admitted before yesterday’s 0-0 tie with Hibernians that Williamson is unlikely to remain in South Yorkshire. Although he was omitted from the party which travelled to Malta on Friday, the 30-year-old returned to work with the rest of Wilson’s squad earlier this month.

The manager conceded that Williamson, who had been expected to join Nottingham Forest until the Championship club were taken over by a Kuwati businessman, had “probably been using his experience” to ensure a level of fitness should he find employment elsewhere.

However, patience at the player’s refusal to accept terms is now wearing thin at board level.“The package Lee has been offered is very competitive,” a source said. “

“The time’s come for a decision. Without wishing to sound confrontational - because that’s not the case - unless a player wants to be here then there’s no point in them coming to work.”

United’s success in retaining McDonald has been hailed as a breakthrough by Wilson and his staff. “Macca is a superb player,” Wilson said. “He’s been terrific for us and it’s wonderful news that, despite having approaches from elsewhere, he has decided to re-join us.”

Shaun Miller is expected to hold a second round of talks with United. As this newspaper reported last season, Wilson identified the striker as a target soon after taking charge 14 months ago.