Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has warned his battle for new signings could go down to the wire after describing conditions in the transfer market as some of the toughest in living memory.
With the loan deadline set to expire tomorrow evening, United remain locked in negotiations with several Premier League and Championship clubs as they attempt to bolster their attacking options before Saturday's game against Aston Villa.
Middlesbrough duo Marvin Johnson and Ashley Fletcher have both attracted interest from Bramall Lane while Scott Hogan, who plays for United's next opponents, remains a target.
But Wilder, revealing he would rather draw a blank than make panic purchases, said: "It's probably been one of the hardest windows ever but that's because of the quality of people we're after. It's a lot more complicated than picking names out of a hat.
"When you see clubs who can sign a cheque at the drop of a hat for millions of pounds struggling, when you see them working so hard and often failing to bring their own targets in, then that gives you some idea."
Earlier this summer, United broke their transfer record to sign John Egan from Brentford while Ben Woodburn, Dean Henderson and Oliver Norwood are among those to also arrive in recent weeks. Wilder, whose side are seventh in the table after three straight league wins, has now made a forward his top priority although negotiations with both Villa and Tony Pulis' team are being hampered by a number of factors beyond United's control.
"There's been no change but things can quickly happen," Wilder continued. "Even if we don't get anyone else in, we're still in a better place (than last year) because there's more to come from the lads that we've got."
"It has to be on our terms, with our numbers and on our structure," he added. "People have to trust me with what we're about and how we do things."
Speaking yesterday, Wilder also confirmed the same applies to out-going players after confirming Millwall have made an enquiry for Ryan Leonard. Although Caolan Lavery's name has been circulated, the 50-year-old appeared to distance himself from reports the midfielder is destined for London despite refusing to completely rebut Neil Harris' approach.
"Yes, there's been an enquiry from Millwall," Wilder said. "There's no point in pretending otherwise. But we won't be letting anyone go if it makes us weaker. Ryan has contributed to our results this season and is a part of our group."