Sheffield United: Paul Coutts makes a shock return to the squad for today’s game against Aston Villa as Martin Cranie

Chris Wilder has recalled Paul Coutts and signed Martin Crainie
Chris Wilder has recalled Paul Coutts and signed Martin Crainie

Nearly a year after breaking his leg, Paul Coutts has returned to Sheffield United's matchday squad.

The midfielder has been named as a substitute for this afternoon's meeting with Aston Villa at Bramall Lane, despite manager Chris Wilder's claim on Thursday that he would make his comeback during Tuesday's friendly against Sheffield FC.

Wilder also confirmed ahead of kick-off that Martin Cranie, the former Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough defender, has joined United on a free transfer. As The Star reported last night, Cranie held talks with Wilder and his staff after a proposed move to West Bromwich Albion hit a stumbling block.

The defender, aged 31, started his career with Southampton and helped Town win promotion to the top-flight two seasons ago.