Danny Wilson has blamed Sheffield United’s ongoing financial problems as the reason behind the club’s failure to recruit new signings before last night’s loan transfer window closes.
The Blades manager has seen his promotion-chasing squad hit by injuries over the last few weeks and had been hoping to bring in a winger on a short-term deal.
But, in a week where the Bramall Lane club announced annual losses of £13m after failing to bounce straight back into the Championship last term, Wilson was forced to admit defeat in stretching his budget any further on new players.
And he has voiced his fears that a depleted squad, propped up with youngsters with little or no first-team experience, could be severely tested in December with a busy festive fixture list.
“We couldn’t bring in anyone before the deadline, which is disappointing. But that’s the way it goes,” said Wilson.
“It’s not a case of that (players not wanting to come or clubs refusing permission), we have identified players no problem. But the finances are what is causing the problem. We are not in a position where we can bring anyone in.
“We just have to bite our lip and get on with it. It’s very frustrating times.
“It’s not necessarily this moment in time, it’s the period which is going to lapse between now and January that’s going to be the problem.
“That’s my concern and that’s my worry, that we don’t have any incoming players and pick up injuries.
“But we can’t do much about it, that’s where it is and we just have to get on with it.
Both regular full-backs Tony McMahon and Matt Hill are currently sidelined, and striker Shaun Miller and midfielder Ryan Flynn both picked up calf injuries in Tuesday’s 3-3 draw with Crewe.
All four failed to train both Wednesday and yesterday and Wilson will leave assessment until tomorrow morning in the hope they can be patched up to face Brentford at Griffin Park.
“We don’t know how long Ryan is going to be out, at the moment,” admitted Wilson. “We are still assessing him. He hasn’t trained at the moment and we are just going to have to see whether he is available on Saturday. He is a doubt.
“We will give all the players up until the morning of the game to give us a decision on whether they can play. Again, they are all doubtful.”
Striker Dave Kitson is definitely ruled out as he nurses a hamstring injury, with Wilson refusing to rush the former Reading forward back and cause even further damage.
The lack of wide players on United’s books has seen Wilson push top scorer Nick Blackman to the wing in the last two home games to give the Blades a more attacking impetus.
That resulted in seven goals against Stevenage and Crewe, and while Wilson may have wanted to revert to a more defensive formation away to Brentford tomorrow, a lack of midfield options may force him to leave Blackman wide.
“I think things get dictated to by the personnel you have available,” explained Wilson. “We will take stock of everything we have got in the next 24 hours and set up a team as best we can.
“It would be better if we had one or two more to choose from, but we haven’t.
“There’s one thing you can always guarantee – the 18 players available to us will be giving everything, total commitment.”
Wilson said he knew Blackman could play wide from his reserve days at Blackburn Rovers, and was happy his positional switch failed to stop him scoring. His goal against Crewe was his 10th of the season.
“He got a goal from playing wide, and it’s an area where we think he can contribute. It’s another goal threat on the pitch, that’s what we are looking at. Particularly at home, not being too one-dimensional. Away from home there might even be a bit more space for him, we will wait and see.
“I think overall he has done really well. He has created a few goals and his set-plays have been fantastic.”
While leaders Tranmere Rovers have grabbed the headlines this season in League One, Wilson rates Uwe Rosler’s Brentford side as dark horses for promotion to the Championship and predicts United’s toughest game of the season tomorrow.
“I think Brentford have an outside chance of promotion this year,” he said. “I think they will be one of the challengers at the end of the year. We have been to some tough places this year but I think it will be our sternest test to date.”