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Shake-up begins as Blades prepare to launch their next promotion campaign

SHEFFIELD United manager Kevin Blackwell has announced a shake-up of his squad – just days after missing out on promotion to the Premier League.

Striker Danny Webber and defender Ugo Ehiogu have been shown the door while Lee Hendrie, David Carney, and Nicky Law have been put up for sale.

Four loan signings – Greg Halford, Craig Beattie, Arturo Lupoli and John-Joe O'Toole -– have gone back to parent clubs while veteran midfielder Gary Speed is in talks over his future.

Former Welsh international Speed, 40 next month, missed the last six months of the season with a back injury and his playing contract has now expired.

However, under the terms of a deal negotiated with former manager Bryan Robson, Speed will be entitled to a further season at Bramall Lane as a coach.

Reserve team goalkeeper Ian Bennett has been offered a new deal along with defender Leigh Bromby who returned to the club four months ago on loan from Watford.

As previously reported, goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and midfielder Nick Montgomery have signed new extended deals.

Blackwell warned of major changes ahead after Monday's 1-0 defeat to Burnley at Wembley in the Championship play-off final.

With pressure to reduce the wage bill following the loss of Premier League parachute payments, the Blades need to get rid of players in order to release wages for new signings.

Webber, 27, has spent the last four and half years with the Blades but has scored only 13 goals in the last three seasons and struggled with injuries.

The former Manchester United youngster is now wanted by former manager Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace.

Ehiogu, Hendrie and Carney were all brought into the club by Robson last season but have been unable to command regular places under Blackwell.

Midfielder Law, 21, played in the Premier League but has spent the majority of this season playing League Two football with Bradford City.

Winger Halford, meanwhile, has been a sensation during his loan spell from Sunderland but his form has inevitably attracted other offers and proved a stumbling block in a bid to make the deal permanent.

Strikers Beattie and Lupoli have struggled to make an impact while O'Toole made nine appearances before missing the play-offs due to an ankle injury.

Several of the club's younger players have been released without breaking into the first team squad: French defender Maxime Chanot, 19, Polish pair Ben Starosta, 22, and Zeyn S'Latef, 18, and Irish midfielder Keith Quinn, 20.

Northern Ireland under-21 international midfielder Adam Chapman and England under-19 goalkeeper Jamie Annerson have already joined Oxford United and Rotherham United respectively after learning that they were surplus to requirements.

Teenagers Sam Wedgbury and Matt Lowton have been offered new deals and will continue their development at Hungarian club Ferencvaros, along with Jordan Robertson and Liban Abdi.

 
 
 

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