Sheffield United v Notts County: Morgan return could signal Maguire exit from Blades

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CHRIS MORGAN’s imminent return to the spotlight at Sheffield United could open the door for Harry Maguire to move to the Premier League.

Blades defender Morgan has been sidelined for the last 14 months with a knee injury but is now firmly on the road to recovery.

In his absence, Maguire, 18, has stepped up from the club’s youth team to become a regular at the heart of defence.

Newcastle United are one of several top-flight clubs monitoring Maguire’s progress and are ready to tempt the Blades with an offer in the region of £1.5m in the new year transfer window.

If Morgan is back in first-team contention, it would fill the void although manager Danny Wilson does not want to sell any of his prize assets.

The Blades host Notts County this afternoon and will be seeking to build on a sequence of four consecutive league victories and four clean sheets.

Commenting on Morgan’s fitness, Wilson said: “He is still unable to do full training but he’s doing bits and bobs and his knee is getting stronger all the time.

“I would be in Utopia if we could get him back for the run-in to the end of the season. It would be like having a big new signing when you look at the qualities he can bring to the side.

“He has vast experience, he is a first-class defender, and he is also a respected leader out on the pitch,” added Wilson. “To have him back out there playing and helping us achieve what we want to achieve this season would be a massive boost for everyone. I am optimistic and it would be great to have him to call on for the business end of the season.”

Striker James Beattie, who has yet to play for the Blades since returning for a second spell at the club nearly a month ago, has an outside chance of selection today.

The former England international picked up a calf injury earlier this month but returned to training last week.

Wilson said: “Hopefully, James will get some action over the Christmas period. We have not seen him at all yet but that’s no-one’s fault. I am sure he will get over his calf injury sooner rather than later.”

County, who are managed by Martin Allen, are 10 points behind the Blades ahead of their first visit to Bramall Lane in a league fixture for more than 17 years.

Wilson said: “They are on the fringes of the promotion issue and we know they are going to be tough opponents. Any team managed by Martin Allen will always be a very competitive outfit.

“We have picked up four wins and four clean sheets in our last four league games which is very pleasing. That’s what you want and is all you can ask for. We are in form, we are looking strong and solid, and we believe we can carry on clawing back the teams above us. We are on course for where we want to be but we are not getting carried away.”