Sheffield United: New forward wanted and Will Osula complications as Reda Khadra says he wants out
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Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie against Millwall, which Khadra is again set to miss after outlining his intentions during talks with United’s coaching staff, Heckingbottom confirmed he hopes to recruit another attacker before the window closes on January 31st.
Osula, aged 19, spent the first half of the campaign at Pride Park, after being placed with County in order to further his development. Despite insisting the Denmark youth international will now compete for a first team place, Heckingbottom admitted he could be allowed to depart again if reinforcements arrive - something, according to the 45-year-old, which makes it imperative United decide if he can bolster their attacking options.
“The thing with the deal (to bring someone in) is that we don’t have money available (unless Khadra goes),” Heckingbottom said. “Will Osula is back with us now and he’s featured for us in the past. I enjoy working with Will. That’s not an issue. We’ve already done that. But if Will plays for us before the window shuts then he can’t go out (on loan) again. So we’re factoring everything in.”
Osula made five appearances for United last term, as Heckingbottom guided them from the lower reaches of the Championship table into the play-offs. They are second, nine points clear of third place, after drawing with Queens Park Rangers on Monday night.
Khadra, acquired on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, was omitted from the squad which travelled to west London and is set to be absent again when United return to the capital for their visit to The Den. Despite being viewed as a major coup when he first arrived in South Yorkshire, Khadra has enjoyed only limited opportunities since then.
Confirming the uncertainty surrounding Khadra had only partly influenced his decision to summon Osula back to United, Heckingbottom said: “Possibly, I expect Reda to leave. He would like to go and I have had conversations with Brighton.”
Osula scored twice in 16 league appearances for County and Heckingbottom added: “With Will, there’s lots of reasons. There’s Reda, I wanted more game time and also to see where he is. Will has trained great with us. I like our environment and what we do with the young lads, with regards to how we push them in training and what we get out of them.”
With Osula suspended, fellow teenager Daniel Jebbison could start at The Den after impressing during a second-half cameo against Rangers. Heckingbottom was responsible for handing Jebbison his debut during a spell in caretaker charge after being asked to stage-manage United’s exit from the Premier League. He became the youngster player to score on his full top-flight debut during a win over Everton.
“I expect a lot of Daniel but these lads, him and Will, are 19,” Heckingbottom reminded. “Jebbo has been on the scene 20 months now, he will get better. We are at that point where ‘it’s up to you’ now. Jebbo has come back from his injury and trained really well every day.”