Sheffield United: Important statement issued about on-loan players ahead of the transfer window
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In a move which could see the likes of Will Osula, Harrison Neal and Harry Boyes return to Bramall Lane, the United manager told The Star discussions are taking place among his coaching staff about integrating them into the first team squad during the second-half of the campaign.
Despite being second in the table ahead of Monday’s visit to Wigan Athletic, United have been blighted by injuries this term with Heckingbottom recently admitting Boyes and Neal could both have been handed their United debuts before the recent World Cup break because of the club’s extensive casualty list.
With Sander Berge, Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle among those returning to fitness following the pause in the fixture schedule, Heckingbottom was asked if that meant Oliver Arblaster, who started the win over Cardiff City, could be allowed to depart on a temporary basis after Christmas.
Although he refused to rule-out the possibility, he told The Star: “We might have to bring people back as well, because we don’t carry big numbers. One of the reasons we don’t do that is because we need to cut our cloth accordingly. But we’ve also been hit by a lot of freaky injuries. There’s no harm in those lads who are already here staying here, as we’ve seen. None whatsoever. But we also have to make sure that we don’t leave ourselves short because of the prize we are chasing.”
Osula, a Denmark under-19 international, has impressed since joining Derby County earlier this term while Boyes has been placed with fellow League One outfit Forest Green Rovers. Neal is gaining experience at Barrow while Sydie Peck, one of the most promising young talents within United’s youth academy, recently moved to Oldham Athletic on a short-term basis.
Heckingbottom’s thinking about where the future of players such as Osula and Arblaster lie could be influenced by the fact United are unlikely to embark upon another major recruitment drive until the summer.
“We are aware we might need to send some out,” he said. “But we might also need bodies.”