Blades closing in on Adams to replace Speed

SHEFFIELD UNITED'S search for a new manager is expected to take a major step forward in the next 24 hours amid suggestions in the Potteries that Port Vale's Micky Adams is on the verge of being appointed.

The lifelong Blades fan is understood to have twice held talks in recent days with the Bramall Lane board about the possibility of succeeding Gary Speed.

Adams, whose Vale side sit second in League Two, is understandably keen to resolve the matter quickly to prevent any uncertainty over his own future impacting on the promotion race in the basement division.

One of several names to be linked with the post since Speed quit to take charge of the Wales national team earlier this month, the Sheffield-born 49-year-old emerged as a leading contender earlier this week after it was revealed United had reluctantly been granted permission by Vale to speak to their manager.

It is not yet known if a compensation figure has been agreed between the two boards, though it is expected a sum of around 150,000 would be required to release Adams from the remaining 18 months of his contract at Vale Park.

United, who have won one and lost two of caretaker manager John Carver's three games in charge, are next in action on New Year's Day at managerless Burnley.

The South Yorkshire club will travel to Turf Moor without on-loan Danny Batth after the 20-year-old was recalled by parent club Wolves as defensive cover for last night's Premier League game against Liverpool.

He had been expected to remain at the Lane until the end of his loan spell on January 3.

Meanwhile, Hull City expect to hand a debut to Aaron Mclean on New Year's Day against Leicester City after agreeing personal terms over his 1.3m transfer from Peterborough United.

Tigers manager Nigel Pearson made the capture of the 27-year-old Posh striker a priority following the takeover of the club by Assem and Ehab Allam on December 16.

City also expect to add Leicester's Matty Fryatt to their squad for 1.2m once the transfer window opens, though the striker will have to wait that little bit longer to make his bow due to the Foxes being unwilling to rubber-stamp the move until after their visit to the KC Stadium.

Instead, Fryatt is likely to face Portsmouth on Monday.

Once those two transfers go through, Hull will turn their attentions to bringing in defensive cover following Daniel Ayala's return to parent club Liverpool.

The 20-year-old made 12 appearances for Pearson's side before suffering a hamstring injury.