Sheffield United: Loans expected to be reviewed before key decisions taken

Sheffield United will review all of their loans ahead of the Christmas and New Year period, before deciding whether to recall players to Bramall Lane.
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Will Osula, Harrison Neal and Harry Boyes are among those currently placed with rivals English Football League clubs in order to further their development.

Although he is pleased with the progress they are making, United manager Paul Heckingbottom has admitted he “can’t afford” to risk leaving his own squad “short” during the second-half of the season when the race for promotion from the Championship will be decided.

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Osula, a Denmark youth international, has scored five goals in 15 appearances for Derby County this term where former Rotherham chief Paul Warne recently took charge. Warne, who was spotted at Bramall Lane earlier this month sitting next to head of recruitment Paul Mitchell, will be hopeful of keeping Osula providing United’s Oli McBurnie’s recovery from hernia surgery does not suffer any unforeseen complications. The same goes for Warne’s counterparts at Forest Green Rovers and Barrow, where Boyes and Neal are operating.

But Osula’s future could also be influenced by suspicions that Rhian Brewster, United’s record transfer signing, faces another long spell out because of a hamstring issue. Captain Billy Sharp, another of their strikers, turns 37 in February while there are question marks about whether Iliman Ndiaye will remain with United beyond January as interest gathers in the Senegalese forward.

Despite petitioning the board to award Ndiaye a new contract to reflect his international status, talks between Bramall Lane’s hierarchy and his representatives have yet to deliver a breakthrough with no quick resolution likely.

Heckingbottom provided a clue towards his thinking following United’s win over Cardiff City earlier this month, telling The Star he “rejected” several approaches for teenage midfielder Oliver Arblaster because of the fitness issues which forced 12 senior professionals to sit out that game. However, he did concede that Arblaster’s position will be analysed again following United’s return to action on December 10th.

Ideally, Heckingbottom would prefer to allow Osula, Boyes and Neal to fulfil their obligations before inviting them back for pre-season training over the summer.