Paul Heckingbottom anxious for clarity regarding key decisions on out of contract players at Sheffield United

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Paul Heckingbottom is calling for 'clarity' from the Blades hierarchy so that he can resolve the futures of a number of out of contract players as takeover speculation continues to swirl around the club.

The Blades, who can take a giant step towards the Championship play-offs at QPR on Friday, are considering an offer from American businessman Henry Mauriss to purchase the club.

It is not just the future of the club which is up in the air. Several players see their deal expire in the summer - including club stalwart Chris Basham, who is a player that Heckingbottom is known to be keen to keep.

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Basham was reportedly nearing an automatic renewal earlier in the season before he suffered an injury.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: PASheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: PA
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: PA

Jack Robinson and Ben Osborn, who have played important roles under Heckingbottom, are also out of contract in June, alongside David McGoldrick, who is currently injured.

The deals of Lys Mousset and Luke Freeman, currently out on loan, also end.

On resolving the situation of a number of players, Heckingbottom said: "We need to.. It is another issue on the agenda and forever at the front of my mind. We want to be building and laying down the groundwork for next season.

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"While there is a short-term focus on the next game and the next game and performance, we have to make good decisions for benefit of the squad for next season and how that looks for the bigger picture for the squad in the season after.

"We want to be consistent in our messaging and building because if we make good decisions now, someone will benefit five or ten years down the line.

"Obviously, we all learnt about the possibility of a takeover. Without me understanding all the makings of it and who is going to be making what decision or not, this would be the third takeover I have been through and it has a bearing on the information which is passed down to me and the decisions that are made.

"Regardless of whether there is one, for the good of the club, we have to be making good decisions. That is always my message.

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"We are in a critical part of the season and it is really important and there's issues to be dealt with. There's other issues with players who are out of contract and injured and are wanting to know their futures, which is really important.

"Anyone who knows me know that a big part of how I like to work is to be honest with people, so that is why I am pushing for answers and clarity to make these decisions."

Heckingbottom says that he expects George Baldock (hamstring) to be available for Friday's game at QPR where the Blades can take a significant step towards the play-offs with victory and pile the pressure on fellow top-six aspirants Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers and Millwall in particular.

Billy Sharp is also in good shape after making his return from the bench following a hamstring problem in last Saturday's victory over Cardiff City at Bramall Lane.

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Heckingbottom said: "He (Baldock) has not trained with the squad (yet). But we were pleased after we got the scan as we knew there was a bit of damage there, but nothing significant. We are expecting him to be back with us, hopefully for Friday.

"Billy getting those minutes was vital. We know how important he is, he is the top scorer, regardless of what we think of him as a bloke and where he is in terms of his contribution. He is the top scorer and we want him.

"We have one or two little other things. (John) Flecky is managing one issue. There's the usual knocks and niggles at the stage of the season when you are never 100 per cent. But we are managing our way through."

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