Sheffield United transfer search launched as Reda Khadra edges closer to Brighton return
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Speaking after watching his team secure a draw at Queens Park Rangers, the second match in a row the German under-21 international has missed following a frustrating start to his loan from the Premier League club, the United manager revealed conversations have taken place about prematurely terminating the supposedly season long agreement.
Heckingbottom acknowledged he “understands” Khadra’s position - indicating he wants to leave South Yorkshire unless regular first team football proves forthcoming - but confirmed he is unwilling to grant that wish unless an alternative can be sourced.
“Reda isn’t in the squad at the moment, that’s the position,” Heckingbottom told The Star. “We’ve had conversations about that. If we can bring someone in, then we’ll look at it. We should be able to (do that).”
Asked if the funding will be placed at his disposal in order to recruit an attacker should Khadra depart, Heckingbottom replied: “I get Brighton’s position and Reda’s position. But likewise I have explained to them our position. We need to know that we have it (the money) to bring someone in and we’ll take it from there. I believe we have that.”
United left Loftus Road having seen their lead over third-placed Blackburn Rovers eroded to nine points, having entered the New Year 11 points clear of Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men. Ilias Chair fired Rangers in front early on, when a mistake by John Egan set in motion the chain of events which led to the Moroccan firing home. But Egan redeemed himself by snatching an equaliser deep into added time, combining with his fellow Irishman Enda Stevens.
“The nature of what happened, that says a lot about us as a group,” said Heckingbottom, who will now begin preparing his squad for Saturday’ FA Cup tie at Millwall. “We weren’t at our best, a little bit loose. That’s why we changed shape, because if one way isn’t working then we’ll do something else. There’s a spirit and an energy about the lads, they’ll fight and go toe to toe.”
“To the outside, it probably exaggerated it more because of when (the equaliser) came,” he continued. “But we have earned the right and we’ve earned it all the way through. It sends a message to everyone. It shows them that we’re ready to fight and go toe to toe.”
Oli McBurnie, United’s joint-leading goalscorer so far this term, was absent as he works his way back to fitness following an ankle complaint diagnosed before undergoing hernia surgery during the recent World Cup break. Max Lowe was also unavailable in west London, after suffering what was later described as a “side strain” during last week’s victory over Blackpool.
“You know I’m going to be vague (about McBurnie and Lowe) because I don’t want to give Gary (Rowett, the Millwall manager) our team,” Heckingbottom admitted. “With Oli, if it’s only cameos he can do at the moment, I don’t want to use him like that. With Max, with how well he’s done after coming back it’s not worth the risk if he’s not right.”