Sheffield United: Paul Heckingbottom eyeing loan deal for defender

But the Sheffield United manager is also pragmatic and wise about the idea that the Blades are in a downturn as they try to cut costs following relegation from the Premier League and a likely drop parachute money next season – if the club doesn’t come back up straight away.

Goalkeepers Michael Verrips and Robin Olsen left the club this month – and Adam Davies was brought in to rival Wes Foderingham – while Oli Burke, a signing before the Blades’ second season in the top flight, has joins Millwall on loan. Regan Slater has linked up with Hull City.

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On the incoming front, another centre-half is the priority, with Liverpool’s Rhys Williams a loan target, with the loan market being one the Blades are likely to have to deal with amid footballing budgetary difficulties.

Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United. Photo: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

Heckingbottom, whose side visit Peterborough United on Saturday, said: “If you’re a football fan you want your club to spend money, but it’s different when it’s your money, isn’t it? it not?

“We have to respect that. Our job is to work within budget.

“You push for it and wonder, but at the end of the day the finances are what they are.”

United’s caution in the market doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve thrown in the towel on their chances of reaching the play-offs this season.

Certainly not in what looks to be one of the most open promotional races in years.

But caution is the watchword and also look at the big picture.

Heckingbottom added: “You’ve probably seen that the decisions we’re making now have been more long-term.

“Although you want to be in the Premier League financially, it’s a better league.

“If you ask me, the players and the coaches, of course we want to get there, 100%.

“But I think decisions are made behind the scenes and at board level that are a bit more long-term and try to provide that stability.

“Every team is chasing the Premier League and I don’t think you can sacrifice club security to pursue that.”

Priscilla C. Carnegie