Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has plenty of irons in fire as he aims to strengthen

SHEFFIELD UNITED supporters may be anticipating the festive season much more eagerly than in recent years, but Chris Wilder admits that the looming onset of January is not lost upon him either.

Sheffield United loanee Ethan Ebanks-Landell.

Although delighted with his side’s exemplary efforts since late August, the Bramall Lane chief is already making provisions for some strategic moves in the winter transfer window as he seeks to inject further quality as the Blades seek to kick on in the second half of 2016-17.

While retaining the services of influential loan defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell represents a clear and obvious priority – the vibes look positive – Wilder is also eyeing some other moves across the pitch and is confident of inward activity once the window opens.

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Wilder, optimistic about the chances of extending Burnley defender Daniel Lafferty’s loan in January, said: “We have worked tirelessly to make things happen and it is an important window for us.

“We want to strengthen and have made that perfectly clear that we want players to come in to kick us on in the new year.”

In terms of specific target areas, he added: “I think we are a midfield player light and I want to bolster that area and we are definitely a wide player short.

“There is obviously Ethan and Daniel Lafferty’s situation and maybe one other position.

“Like everyone else, we would like to get all of our number one targets. But if we don’t, I am sure there will be activity and players will come into the building in January to make us stronger going into the new year.”

On talks with Wolves and Burnley, he added: “We are expecting an answer (on Ebanks-Landell) pretty quickly, so we know which direction we are going in.

“We would love to extend that into the new year and I think everyone connected with the club who has seen his performances would like that to happen. They have the option and the decision is left with them, but I am sure we will get one pretty soon.

“We are very confident that Lafferty’s loan will be extended into the new year and that is another one and we are talking to Burnley on a regular basis.

“He has come in and we have lost one (league) game (since). He has done really well and been part of that winning team and run.”

The Blades will continue to run the rule over Australian trialist winger Peter Skapetis.

The former Socceroos youth international, 21, is available for free after leaving Stoke City, having previous spent a spell at QPR. He also recently had a trial at Cardiff City.

Wilder added: “He has done okay and we will look at him over the next few days. He plays wide and can play up front and it is an area where, having lost Harry Chapman, that we need to go and get somebody in. He played in the Under-23s game on Monday and is here for the next couple of days.”

Chris Hussey will be sidelined for the Boxing Day game with the Latics after suffering a bruised shoulder in the Under-23 game, but Stefan Scougall is available.