Sheffield United goalkeeper given the green light to leave

Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, admits he has told Jake Eastwood it is vital he plays regular first team football next season for the sake of his career.

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The goalkeeper, who turns 26 in October, is expected to join Ross County late this summer after being invited to train with Malky Mackay’s side.

Although United do not want to sell Eastwood permanently, particularly with Adam Davies yet to confirm if he will return to Bramall Lane, Heckingbottom is determined not to see Eastwood stagnate after describing him as “very talented”.

Revealing United want to hand the 25-year-old a new deal, Heckingbottom said: “Hopefully Jake will get his contract sorted. If he’s going to achieve his potential, then he needs to play first team football.

“If we get a goalie in, then Jake knows he will be going out.”

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom wants Jake Eastwood to play first team football: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Heckingbottom’s comment explains why County’s proposal has yet to be officially processed by Bramall Lane’s administration department, as conversations between Davies and his representatives remain on-going. The Wales international arrived at United in January after negotiating his release from Stoke City. But with Robert Page’s squad qualifying for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar, Davies could believe it is better to enjoy regular action than attempt to dislodge Wes Foderingham from United’s starting eleven.

Heckingbottom has stressed Foderingham is not guaranteed his place. But, after acquitting himself so well last term, it would be a major shock if he did not feature when United begin the new campaign at Watford on August 1st.

On Eastwood, Heckingbottom added: He’s very talented. Hopefully we can get him to the level when he’s in.”

Jake Eastwood trains at Sheffield United's Randox Health Academy: Simon Bellis/Sportimage