James Hanson has been told he could still have a future with Sheffield United if he impresses on loan at Bury.
The former Bradford City centre-forward moved to Gigg Lane until the end of the season last week after failing to command a place in the Championship club’s squad.
Although Chris Wilder’s attempt to bolster his attacking options during this month’s transfer window suggest Hanson will be allowed to depart at the end of the campaign, the United manager insisted he could be persuaded to perform a volte-face if the 30-year-old “rips it up” for Chris Lucketti’s side.
“You never say never, but I think we have moved on at a pace at this football club,” Wilder said. “I have got two big lads at the top of the pitch who have done outstandingly well. I have to make sure I am covered with different types of players, the combinations are right.
“But if James goes and rips it up, who knows what might happen, he is still our player and comes back to us in pre-season. I would never discount him, but from his point of view, he needs to play 20-25 games of football and get himself going again.”
Hanson’s arrival from Valley Parade proved a key factor in United’s march to the League One title, as he formed an effective partnership with captain Billy Sharp. But, 12 months on, he has become an increasingly peripheral figure at Bramall Lane, playing only twice since Wilder’s squad won promotion.
With Clayton Donaldson and Leon Clarke blocking his route into the starting eleven, Wilder acknowledged Hanson’s exit also creates space on United’s wage bill as coaching staff attempt to eke the most out of their recruitment budget.
“James needs to go and get games, and get his career back up and running,” Wilder said. “From our point of view, we need a balanced squad and it might free up a couple of quid to put towards what we have got. It’s a little bit on the financial part, but mainly due to the form of Clayton, Leon and Billy - and a couple of others we are looking to get back in, maybe bring to look one in as well. That pathway for James is blocked.”