Sheffield United: Transfer talk continues to dominate the agenda at Bramall Lane as The Blades refuse to give up on Scott Hogan and Marvin Johnson

Middlesbrough's Marvin Johnson is wanted by Sheffield United
Middlesbrough's Marvin Johnson is wanted by Sheffield United

Not for the first time this season, all the talk during Sheffield United's latest pre-match media briefing was about a player who will not take part in the game.

But rather than being probed on Paul Coutts' fractured tibia and pressed for a likely comeback date, Chris Wilder found himself discussing Scott Hogan; the centre-forward he wants to sign from Aston Villa.
The United manager, whose side face Steve Bruce's team on Saturday, has spent the best part of three months attempting to negotiate Hogan's release despite the 26-year-old's recent struggles with injury. So, as the countdown to tomorrow's loan deadline turned from days into hours, it was inevitable the progress of those discussions were raised again yesterday.
"There's been no change," Wilder, who is also monitoring Middlesbrough's Ashley Fletcher and Marvin Johnson, said. "We're as we were but we're working hard and situations quickly change."
Although United have compiled a list of alternative targets should Villa refuse to play ball, Wilder's refusal to give-up on Hogan reflects his faith in the striker's talents. Despite making a chequered start to his career in the Midlands, scoring only 10 goals in 54 outings, United's manager remains convinced the former Brentford marksman can rediscover the form which persuaded Bruce to spend £9m acquiring his services in January last year. Indeed, behind the scenes at Bramall Lane, there is a school of thought that Hogan is better suited to Wilder's risk versus reward approach than Villa's more pragmatic style of play.
"We know the people we want," the United manager said. "We don't just stick a pin in it and think 'we'll go for them.' There's a process we follow."