Chris Wilder has refused to deny Sheffield United will try to sign Ethan Ebanks-Landell on a permanent basis if they win promotion.
But Wilder, who described Wolverhampton Wanderers’ decision not to terminate the defender’s season long loan as “massive news” for his club, refuted suggestions Ebanks-Landell enjoys ‘untouchable’ status in the League One leaders’ squad.
Although officials at Molineux renewed the 24-year-old’s agreement earlier this week, they simultaneously extended his contract until 2020.
Asked if that signalled the end of United’s interest in Ebanks-Landell, Wilder responded: “We can approach that in the summer. Ethan is here until the end of the season and I think that’s massive news for us. It’s been the talk of everybody, that it was vital we kept hold of Ethan. Fortunately, that’s what has happened and we’re all delighted that it has.”
United enter today’s game at Walsall four points clear of second-placed Scunthorpe but knowing that Jon Whitney’s side have already beaten them twice so far this term.
Ebanks-Landell and his fellow centre-half Jack O’Connell were both on target during last weekend’s 4-2 victory over a Southend team Wilder has tipped to mount a promotion challenge of their own.
“You talk about forwards winning you games, the pop stars of the team, but the Southend game was a big day for our centre-halves because of their physical threat and how they put the ball in the box,” Wilder continued. “I thought all three of our centre-halves were outstanding in how they dealt with the threat.”
With Daniel Lafferty agreeing a two-and-a-half year contract with United after initially joining on loan from Burnley, Wilder has outlined plans to make further reinforcements ahead of the transfer deadline later this month.
Samir Carruthers, who left MK Dons before the visit to Roots Hall, will miss the trip to the Midlands through injury but both Ebanks-Landell and Lafferty are expected to take part.
“We have worked hard to get him (Ebanks-Landell),” Wilder said. “Mentally now he knows he is with us until the end of the season and I think that’s important. Ethan and Danny had been here for half the season and we wanted for them to be here for the remainder of the year.
“There was an opportunity to take Dan on a permanent and we have taken it, he has done ever so well. Danny and Ethan now have to keep playing well because we have some good options.”