Chris Wilder on his recruitment plans at Sheffield United

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder is to step up his recruitment plans ahead of the re-opening of the transfer market in January in the coming weeks - with bringing in another central defensive option representing a key concern.

Chris Wilder.

The Blades have endured a fraught start to the Premier League season with matters compounded by some untimely injury issues, something that the club largely avoided last season.

The absence of Jack O'Connell, outstanding for the club in 2019-20, is hurting the club in particular, with the Liverpudlian expected to miss the rest of the campaign with a knee injury.

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It has heightened the need to look at bringing in cover in January, which can traditionally be a difficult market.

Wilder, whose side visit Chelsea on Saturday evening, said: "I’ve not had that discussion with the board. But we do need to improve in that position.

"We are always watching and looking, in the recruitment world. Some players who were available get themselves back in the team and the door closes. Others open.

"So it’s a moving game and we have to be on the ball. There’ll be conservations going on, between agents and ourselves to see who is available.

"It’s always difficult to do business in January. I’m not being critical, if you are Manchester and need a centre-half, you identify three and go and write a cheque for £75m.

"I’m not saying managing those clubs is easy, because you have other situations. But we all know where the best players are and we all have different situations."

Wilder is hopeful that John Fleck and Lys Mousset - who have stepped up their comeback plan by returning to training this week - could be in the mix after the next international break.

But he insists he will resist the urge to push them back quickly - for fear of them potentially suffering a relapse.

He added: "We have times when they (will) come back, I’m forever asking the medical department: 'When are they back, when are they back.'

"These two are coming through well. They are on every aspect, I’m be delighted. Lys is a game changer and John is a game-changer. (But) We can’t chuck them in if they’re going to break down."