Carver shrugs aside uncertainty to target Reid as key for Sheffield United

SHEFFIELD United caretaker-manager John Carver has vowed to 'fight tooth and nail' to keep Sunderland midfielder Andy Reid at Bramall Lane.

The Republic of Ireland international has spent nearly two months on loan with the Blades after falling out of favour with Black Cats manager Steve Bruce.

His existing deal is due to expire after the visit of Doncaster Rovers in 12 days but Carver, who is now in charge of the club's planning for the New Year transfer window, is keen to retain his services.

"If it has anything to do with me, I will be fighting tooth and nail to make sure Andy Reid stays," Carver said last night. "He's the type of player that I think the fans want to see here."

Reid, 28, joined Sunderland in a 4m deal three years ago but will be out of contract next summer and would be allowed to leave the Stadium of Light for a knockdown fee of 500,000.

It is unlikely that the Blades could afford even that transfer fee – but they may be able to pick up his wages for the rest of the season.

"I have a good relationship with Steve Bruce, he lives not far from me in Newcastle," revealed Carver, who stepped into the breach following the departure of Gary Speed last week.

"He will realise what we are trying to do and this is an opportunity for Andy to continue playing games. Andy is in a situation where he just wants to play football. He is talented and comes into training with a smile on his face every single day of the week. He is a creative player and we need creative players."

Carver will be in charge of the Blades for a minimum of three more games and is one of several serious contenders for the job on a permanent basis. Despite uncertainty surrounding his future, Carver is now liaising with the board over which players to sign or move on.

"It's no good shutting down, thinking 'I might not get the job' or 'I will get the job'," he said. "You have got to be pro-active and productive. Whatever happens to me, the people at the top will still be here and they are the ones who will do the final touches on negotiations. I was part of the planning when Gary (Speed) was here and you have to keep on planning.

"If a new guy comes in and has got different ideas at least we have done the best thing possible for this football club to prepare for January."

Carver, who missed out on jobs at both Newcastle United and Leeds United after caretaker spells in the past, believes his working relationship with assistant manager Sam Ellis could be a major advantage in his challenge this time around.

Veteran Ellis, who has over 30 years of coaching experience, moved to Bramall Lane with Kevin Blackwell nearly three years ago.

"There is a continuity, which is a good thing, and Sam has been a tower of strength," said Carver. "At Leeds, I didn't have Sam alongside me. I was left, more or less, to my own devices.

"It's important, when you are making those big decisions, that you have someone of his experience alongside to advise. You listen to what he has to say, digest it, and make a decision. It has certainly been a big advantage to me."

Carver has also confirmed that he wants to keep former England international goalkeeper Richard Wright who is pushing for a recall against Hull City on Boxing Day after suffering a thigh injury two weeks ago on his debut against Barnsley. Wright is on a short-term deal, due to expire at the end of the month.

Carver, meanwhile, has issued a challenge to strikers Ched Evans and Daniel Bogdanovic who have both been a source of frustration to supporters this season.

Evans capped an impressive performance with the winning goal against Swansea City last weekend while summer signing Bogdanovic is available to face Hull after a three-game ban.

"I have told Ched that I don't want a 'training ground footballer', I want a guy who is going to perform on a Saturday," said Carver. "He has not been pulling up any trees here but I hope last weekend was a turning point."

On Bogdanovic, Carver said: "He is not stupid enough to think he is going to go straight back into the team. He will have to earn the right. I want to see the Daniel Bogdanovic we saw against Nottingham Forest (in September), not the Daniel Bogdanovic I saw when we played Hull away (in October). I have told him that to his face so I'm not talking behind anybody's back."

Midfielder Stephen Quinn (back) is a fresh fitness worry ahead of the Hull game but Lee Williamson is pushing for his first start since recovering from back surgery in the summer.