Sheffield United want to keep next generation intact

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SHEFFIELD United will tell manager Danny Wilson he is under no immediate pressure to sell Bramall Lane’s next generation despite their failure to secure promotion back to the Championship.

But the club’s hierarchy acknowledge they could be forced to part company with some of Wilson’s rising stars should the individuals concerned express a desire to move elsewhere.

Fears have been raised that last month’s heartbreaking defeat in the League One play-off final at Wembley would signal an exodus of talent with teenage defender Harry Maguire among those linked with transfers to the top-flight.

However, although unpredictable market conditions mean United are unable to offer any guarantees about who will remain in situ, assimilating more graduates of their acclaimed Shirecliffe academy into the first team is understood to be a priority next term.

Midfielder Elliott Whitehouse and striker Joe Ironside, who both helped United reach the 2011 FA Youth Cup final, are being tipped for more prominent roles when competition resumes in August.

Indeed, an early indication of where they feature in Wilson’s plans is likely to come when the former Northern Ireland international unveils the travelling party set to begin a week long tour of Malta on Friday 20 July.

United are still negotiating with potential opposition for a home friendly on Tuesday 7 August.

But they have already announced dates against Ilkeston Town (July 18), Rotherham United (July 31) and Morecambe (August 4) while a United XI is scheduled to visit Matlock Town on Wednesday August 8.

Meanwhile, season tickets have now been placed on general sale and are available for purchase at or by telephoning 08719951889.

A direct debit scheme, which allows the cost of payments to be spread, has also been introduced.