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Sheffield United: Chris Wilder explains why Ryan Leonard will be playing against his parent club at The Den

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder has outlined Sheffield United's reasons for allowing Ryan Leonard to play against them when his team travels to Millwall this weekend.

The midfielder joined Neil Harris' side on a loan to buy deal in August and, in an unusual move, was granted permission to face his parent club at The Den.

But Wilder, refuting suggestions that Leonard will view the decision as a snub, explained the fact he will complete a £1.4m transfer to London later this term had influenced United's decision.

"Like Ollie Norwood coming here (on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), it's really a permanent. He's not coming back to us.
"It's not like a loan to loan between windows. Ryan is a good player, it's just a deal that we did."

Why he went:

Leonard, aged 26, spent seven months at Bramall Lane following a series of protracted negotiations with Southend. But, after making only 17 appearances for United, his departure was sanctioned when Oliver Norwood, Marvin Johnson and Martin Cranie arrived in South Yorkshire.

The fee Millwall have agreed to pay is double the amount it cost united to secure Leonard's release from Roots Hall.

"He was a good kid, Ryan, and a really good professional," Wilder said. "The team had done well and we wanted competition. 
"He came to me about 10 days before and asked what he had to do to get in the team. I said 'keep doing what you're doing.' He was a good lad, there was no major plan to move him on."

"They lost a player for decent money, they asked about Ryan and we asked about someone else to make it happen," Wilder added. "Ryan is playing for them and we've done some bits to strengthen us.
"If you look back through at the history of football, some deals have been done ridiculously quickly. Ryan was here for six months and these things happen."