Soccer gossip: Blades, Owls, Doncaster, Hull, Huddersfield, Rotherham

Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson
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DANNY WILSON has revealed his delight after highly-rated teen centre-half Harry Maguire was called up by England U21 boss Stuart Pearce for tomorrow night’s clash with Northern Ireland at Bloomfield Road.

Pearce has been keeping tabs on the resolute young Sheffield United defender, in impressive form this term following on from his stand-out breakthrough season in 2012-13, with Wilson thrilled with his elevation.

He said: “Harry will only benefit from being involved in the England set-up and it’s richly deserved.

“If his feet start to go a few inches off the ground because of it, then we will bring him back down to earth, but that won’t happen because he’s not that type of lad. This is a testament to all of the hard work he’s put in.

“I’m also chuffed for Harry’s family because they’re absolutely smashing too. They’ve brought him up well and give him excellent guidance.”

Wilson was not so pleased with weekend referee Darren Sheldrake, with the Blades boss furious with his decision to award a late penalty for hosts MK Dons, which was tucked away by Shaun Williams as United’s 18-match undefeated league run ended in Buckinghamshire.

The Exiles were the last team to beat United in the league back in April, with the Blades looking good for their fifth successive clean sheet in the division until Sheldrake intervened, pointing to the spot after a challenge from David McAllister on Angelo Balanta in the 90th minute.

Wilson added: “I think the referee got it wrong. He didn’t give one in the first half (to MK Dons) and it was a penalty, I will admit that.

“But it shouldn’t make a difference, I hope when the performance of the referee is analysed he will hold his hands up and admit his mistakes.

“All you want is for the big decisions to be right and unfortunately they were not to the standard everyone expects.

“The timing of the decision is frustrating enough, but I honestly can’t see what he thinks he has seen.

“I am really angry and frustrated that we have lost in these circumstances, our lads did not deserve to lose the game given that performance.”

Meanwhile, United’s steel city rivals Sheffield Wednesday are being strongly linked with a loan move for out-of-favour Sunderland striker Connor Wickham.

The Owls are thought to be favourites to land the £8m forward on an emergency loan, with the 19-year-old having failed to feature for the Black Cats this term.

Hull City chief Steve Bruce has offered keeper Ben Amos no assurances he will keep his place in the Tigers’ line-up for Saturday’s clash at Birmingham City - after the loan keeper’s early blooper in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Cardiff.

The Manchester United stopper’s misjudgement enabled Heidar Helguson to nod in an early opener for the Bluebirds with Bruce to mull over whether to keep him between the posts this week.

Bruce said: “Ben’s form is typical of a young player.

“Do we look to protect him because he’s a young lad? That’s something we’ll have to look at in the week.

“We’ll see how his confidence is. That’s why he’s here and why all the young lads come out on loan, they come here to improve and grow.”

Huddersfield Town loan star Simon Church - who made an instant impression for the Terriers in setting up the only goal of the game for Jermaine Beckford in Saturday’s 1-0 derby win at near-neighbours Barnsley - admits he is mulling over his long-term options having been used sparingly at parent club Reading this term.

The Welsh international, 23, is keen to make up for lost time with Town after joining on a short-term loan, turning down moves to other clubs, including weekend opponents Barnsley.

He added: “I knew Huddersfield were interested at the start of the season and it was a bit frustrating that I wasn’t allowed to go out on loan sooner, but I finally got the chance and I am grateful for that.

“I have been offered a contract at Reading, but it is all about deciding what’s best for my career at the moment.

“I’m coming up to 24 and I want to be playing regular football. I’m at the stage of my career where I should be doing that.”

Doncaster Rovers boss Dean Saunders - whose side lost their second home match on the spin in a 1-0 reverse to Bournemouth - admits he has left the door open for a return to the club for James Coppinger, who has struggled for loan opportunities at Nottingham Forest.

Coppinger has started just one match for Forest since heading to the City Ground in a beat-the-deadline move and despite the 31-year-old being one of Rovers’ highest earners, Saunders is not ruling out a Keepmoat future for the midfielder when his loan ends.

And Saunders has also dismissed talk of a rift with the player.

He said “What happens next with James depends on what Nottingham Forest want to do.

“He’s only started one game for them in two months. He’s been on the bench for most of that time which is frustrating for him and for us.

“We’ve really just got to wait and see how it develops, it’s early days.

“James understands that they’re paying all of his wages and we had to do it (let him go out on loan).

“That’s why I’ve signed players till January. Let’s wait and see what happens.

“He’s got another year left on his contract here so he’s still very much our player and the door is open for him.”

Rotherham United chief Steve Evans has claimed that one of his players alleged that Premier League referee Roger East spoke abusively to them during Saturday’s desperate 5-0 defeat at Dagenham.

While being furious with his side’s lame display in Essex, Evans admitted the alleged incident involving East had left a bad taste in his mouth.

He said: “The player, who I won’t name, came to the bench and told us what had been said to him by the referee. “To say we were surprised is an understatement.

“This is a player who hasn’t had a bad word to say about anybody while I’ve been here and here he is making this claim. I was unhappy about the comments said to have been made by the referee to one of my players.

“The allegation is one of foul and abusive language by the referee and if I had used the words I was told he used, then I would be up in front of the FA. It is not right.”

On his side’s performance, he added: “That was a bad performance, we didn’t turn up and that surprised me.”

It’s a short turnaround for York City, who play AFC Wimbledon for the second time in three days in a FA Cup replay this evening, with boss Gary Mills desperate for a better performance from his troops after a poor 3-0 League Two loss to the Wombles at Bootham Crescent on Saturday.

Mills said “The win will have given Wimbledon a lift, but I don’t think we can play any worse. If we do, then we are in trouble.”

While Mills was disappointed with his side’s efforts, Bradford City counterpart Phil Parkinson was a contented man after his side’s 2-0 win at struggling Aldershot.

And the Bantams chief earmarked special praise for match-winner Nakhi Wells, whose first-half brace took his seasonal goals tally to 12.

He said: “Nakhi was back to his best and creating opportunities with his persistence.

“He is a pest, and when he’s a pest and he closes people down and creates opportunities for himself - that’s when he’s at his best.”

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