Chris Wilder has confirmed that five key members of his Sheffield United squad, including Paul Coutts and captain Billy Sharp, are on the verge of being awarded new contracts.
The duo, together with Chris Basham, Kieron Freeman and Matt Done, will shortly trigger clauses entitling them to fresh deals after impressing during the first half of the campaign.
Although it remains unclear if those options are loaded in favour of the players or the club - something which could prove crucial over the coming months - Wilder said: “There are lads who have got triggers in terms of the number of games they play and a few of those are coming up. I’d expect them all to hit those pretty soon anyway.
“There’s Bash, Kieron, Sharpy, Matt Done and Couttsy. They deserve the options that are in their contracts and we won’t be in the position we were in last year with all of those contracts expiring.”
The present situation, as revealed by The Star earlier this term, has allowed Wilder and his staff to adopt a more strategic approach towards recruitment with targets already being identified ahead of the forthcoming transfer window.
“Those triggers will be activated and they’ll be with us next season,” Wilder, who took charge of United in May, said. “That’s good because they aren’t people we want to move on. We’re already focused on January and putting in the work. Do we need players who can take us forward into next year, of the right age and the right mentality? People like John Fleck, Jack O’Connell and Simon Moore, who we brought in at the start.”