John Egan eager to help Sheffield United improve and meet big ambitions

AHEAD of tackling Inter Milan tonight in a prestigious friendly, new club record signing John Egan admits promotion has to be the target for Sheffield United this season.

New signing John Egan is set to make his second Sheffield United bow on Tuesday having previously be on loan at Bramall Lane from Sunderland (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage).

The 25-year-old Irishman has joined the Blades from Brentford in a £4.1m deal. It is Egan’s second stint at Bramall Lane after a short loan spell in 2012 when on the books at Sunderland.

Much is expected this term of Egan, who will start against the Serie A club on a night when the south stand will be officially re-named in honour of Tony Currie.

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“There is a really good squad here,” said the Republic of Ireland international. “They were very unlucky to miss out on the play-offs last season.

“We have to try and be in the mix and promotion is the target.

“The manager sold that ambition to me. A lot of clubs have ambitions to go to the Premier League. It was the same at Brentford, but I played against Sheffield United last season and know about them.

“They are a very, very good side. Hopefully we can go one better this season.”

Egan’s fee eclipses the previous highest paid by United when James Beattie joined in the summer after the club had been relegated from the Premier League in 2007.

“I don’t think any fee brings a pressure,” added the defender. “The manager has shown his belief in me. It is up to me now to show him and the lads what I am about.”

Tonight’s glamour friendly is expected to attract a crowd of around 15,000 to the Lane.

Also in action on home soil tonight are Hull City, who host Premier League side Newcastle United.

All six of the Tigers’ summer signings could feature after George Long was the only one of the new faces to miss out in the weekend defeat at Rochdale.

After his side’s 1-0 loss to the League One club, manager Nigel Adkins confirmed bids for Brighton & Hove Albion duo Oliver Norwood and Jiri Skalak had been rejected, along with an offer for Scunthorpe United’s Conor Townsend.

“We need to strengthen,” added the Tigers’ chief, who will again be without Jon Toral tonight through injury, although he could welcome back Jarrod Bowen.

“You could see at Rochdale that we are still very short on numbers. It is important we bring more players in.

“We need competition for places and be able to deal with the injuries and suspensions.”

An added complication for all clubs trying to get deals over the line is the closing of the window for permanent transfers in the summer having been brought forward to August 9.

Adkins, linked with a loan move for Manchester City youngster Brandon Barker, added: “From my point of view you want to have your team in place at the start of pre-season. Definitely before the start of the season.

“I have no issues at all with the transfer window coming forward. We play Aston Villa (on August 6) and then it shuts, unlike the Premier League (where it is shut before the first game).

“A lot of deals are done in the last few days, so potentially, after we play Villa, a lot of activity will go on. Then the loan window opens for the rest of the month.

“That is where you will get the knock-on effect of players who have not gone somewhere. They have to find homes as well.

“I am pleased with the players we have brought in, but we still need more to get the squad at a position where we can be competitive in this division.”

York City are in talks with Burnley after the Premier League side targeted Academy winger Vinnie Steels.

“Burnley have complied with all the rules and gave seven days’ notice last week of their intentions to approach the player,” said York’s sporting director Dave Penney about the 16-year-old, who was due to sign a professional contract on his birthday next month.

“Both Vinnie and his agent will now be free to talk to Burnley’s representatives on Wednesday.”