Saddlers’ captain attracts interest in Yorkshire

Walsall's Andy Butler.
Walsall's Andy Butler.
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SHEFFIELD UNITED are leading a three-way Yorkshire chase to sign Walsall captain Andy Butler.

The Doncaster-born central defender, 30, has decided not to take up the option of extending his Saddlers contract by a further year and is now free to begin talks with other clubs.

The Blades, seeking to recruit an experienced figure in defence to compensate for the exit of Matt Hill, are believed to be at the front of the queue to sign the centre-half, who spent a spell at Huddersfield earlier in his career.

Butler, a model of consistency during his three years in the West Midlands, is also on the wanted list of recently-relegated Doncaster Rovers, his hometown club.

Rovers chief Paul Dickov will present his list of transfer targets to the board today.

His budget is expected to be revised in the wake of relegation from the Championship, with the club mindful of the Salary Cost Management Protocol, which limits club spending on wages to 60 per cent of turnover.

Bradford City are reportedly also interested in Butler, and his former club Scunthorpe United and recently-crowned League Two champions Chesterfield are keen on signing him, too.

On the decision of Butler, a key figure during his time at the Banks Stadium, Saddlers manager Dean Smith said: “It’s his prerogative.

“He wants to look elsewhere and see what other options are available to him.

“If his future does lie away from us, we wish him well because he has been a fantastic servant.”

Scottish side St Mirren have rejected an off from the Blades – reported to be £100,000 – for midfielder John McGinn.

Meanwhile, Bradford City target Billy Knott has cooled talk linking him a imminent move to West Yorkshire.

The midfielder, 21, recently released by Sunderland, impressed during a loan spell at Vale Park, with some reports suggesting he is in advanced talks to join City.

He tweeted: “I haven’t signed for Bradford, it’s rumours.

“I won’t be making any decisions until Wednesday after a nice holiday with friends and family.”

Hull City centre-half James Chester and Barnsley defender Lewin Nyatanga have been called up to the Wales squad for their clash with the Netherlands in Amsterdam on June 4.