Sheffield United have been compiling detailed dossiers on the performances of their on-loan players ahead of an in-depth review of the club’s playing squad.
Although Chris Wilder is unlikely to make wholesale changes, preferring to focus on pursuing a small number of handpicked deals instead, the progress made by the likes of George Long and Louis Reed since leaving Bramall Lane on temporary transfers will be considered before a final decision is made.
Nathan Thomas, a summer signing from Hartlepool, has also been monitored on a regular basis after joining League One promotion hopefuls Shrewsbury Town until the end of the campaign while Rotherham have been providing regular updates on Caolan Lavery.
“There’s a few loan players who are out there,” Wilder, the United manager, said.
“We’ve got a good group and we’ve been keeping a close eye on them.
“Whether it’s Reedy at Chesterfield or Nathan at Shrewsbury. Caolan has been in and out at Rotherham and then there’s George at Wimbledon. Our sports psychologist [Steven Sylvester] works down there as well and Harry [Dave Bassett], who I’m very close to, still goes to watch them.”
Although Long has made 44 appearances for AFC Wimbledon, Reed’s performances for Chesterfield, where he is expected to be named player of the season, are likely to have provoked the most interest among Wilder and his staff.
With competition for places in United’s midfield particularly fierce following the arrival of Lee Evans and Ryan Leonard during the January window, the youngster could be parked with a League One club if United calculate his immediate opportunities are likely to remain limited at the beginning of next term.
But Chris Hussey is expected to depart on a permanent basis when his United contract expires in just over a month’s time. The defender moved to Swindon Town on loan in July.
“We’ve got a couple in on loan ourselves,” Wilder, referring to Jamal Blackman and James Wilson, said.
“Their parent clubs, the people who have loanees here, do their reports all the time and vice versa.”