QPR v Sheffield United: Return of Coutts key to Evans’s departure

Paul Coutts
Paul Coutts
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Chris Wilder says the imminent return of Paul Coutts swayed his decision to allow Lee Evans to leave Sheffield United.

The Wales international only arrived at Bramall Lane in January, and started both of United’s Championship games this week, but yesterday moved to Wigan Athletic on loan, before the deal is made permanent in January.

Wilder now plans to bring in two new loan signings next week – plus a striker – but admitted the return of the injured Coutts was a big factor in Evans’s exit.

The influential midfielder has been sorely missed by United, after breaking a leg against Burton Albion last November.

Before his injury, the 30-year-old former Derby County midfielder had forged an impressive partnership with John Fleck.

“One of the big things is the return of Coutts,” said Wilder. “We brought Lee in, hopefully thinking Coutts was going to be okay, but there was no guarantee on that.

“We have done a deal, brought someone in who has covered for us for seven months, and Paul’s return is hopefully four to six weeks away.

“The player we are bringing in is a different type, who complements the chemistry we have, what we want to achieve and go with.

“We have talked to the medical staff, Paul has to go through the process, getting minutes.

“But I would love to stick him in the first team right now, not for just what he gives you on the pitch, but off it too, in the changing room.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, though. He isn’t going to start scoring 15 goals a season, clearing one off the line at one end, then smacking a volley in at the other end.

“Everybody recognises the quality he brings, and how hard he has worked to get back.”

The Blades failed in big-money bids for striker Martyn Waghorn and QPR midfielder Luke Freeman before Thursday’s transfer window closed, but Wilder is optimistic of signing three new players before the loan window shuts this month.

“I am very confident that by the time the window closes we will have three players in the building,” he said.

“We have something lined up, and are not a million miles away from that deal getting done.

“We are looking at two players with really good pedigrees that will improve our football club, and want to come here.

“We are also waiting to bring another forward in. We just need to pick the right one, we will not be rushed into it.”