SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades No.1 priority

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SHEFFIELD United will today redouble their efforts to sign a new goalkeeper ahead of Saturday’s League One encounter at Preston North End.

United, who could be without number one Mark Howard for nearly two months, have so far been frustrated in their efforts by the international break.

But Danny Wilson, who is scouring top-flight and Championship squads for potential targets, remains confident of making a breakthrough in the loan market before visiting Deepdale this weekend.

United are understood to have considered an approach for West Ham’s Stephen Henderson, but the 24-year-old last night seemed destined for Ipswich Town instead.

George Long, an England under-18 international, deputised for Howard during United’s draw with Oldham Athletic and Wilson told The Star his search for reinforcements is nots a slight on the teenager’s talents.

“George did absolutely nothing wrong,” the manager said. “It was fantastic for him to be involved and there aren’t many lads of his age who could do that in his position. I don’t think he looked out of place and he couldn’t do anything about their goal.

“You’ve got to give credit to the rest of the lads as well for making him feel so comfortable.

“But we do need to bring someone in if possible because George is the only person we’ve got here available who has played first-team football before.”

Long is poised make the eighth senior appearance of his career at Meadow Lane tomorrow when United face Notts County in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Meanwhile, United could open contract talks with Neill Collins after recently agreeing fresh terms with Richard Cresswell and captain Michael Doyle.

Wilson indicated after Doyle committed himself to the club until 2015 that he wanted to retain the services of his most experienced players.