Sheffield United: Chris Wilder prepares to wing it in the transfer market

Harry Chapman has returned to Middlesbrough for treatment. Pic Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage
Harry Chapman has returned to Middlesbrough for treatment. Pic Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage

Sheffield United have made a new winger their top priority during next month’s transfer window after being informed Harry Chapman is unlikely to make an early return from injury.

Chris Wilder revealed his decision to award Peter Skapetis a trial was prompted by concerns the League One club’s squad could be left exposed following news that Chapman’s damaged ankle might not heal until March.

Although United are yet to receive a detailed update on the England under-20 international’s condition - he is understood to have torn a membrane during a freak training ground accident two weeks ago - Wilder said: “We’re looking at that position because, with Harry being out, that’s an area where we’re a little bit light. There’s only really (Mark) Duffy who can go and be an out and out wide player which is something we’re mindful of.

“Obviously we’ve got a few targets because, if possible, it’s a situation we want to try and sort out.”

Chapman made 11 appearances for United after arriving on loan from Middlesbrough. But his progress was stalled when he fell awkwardly on the eve of the FA Cup second round tie against Bolton Wanderers earlier this month.

“It’s still not certain exactly how long Harry will be out of action for,” Wilder, the United manager, admitted. “He’s obviously gone back up there to do his rehab and, when it initially happened, the thought was that he’d be missing for around three to four months.

“Of course, that might change but it’s still too early to say. Middlesbrough will keep us informed of how he’s doing and what’s going on.”

United, who are second in the League One table, will attempt to close the gap on leaders Scunthorpe when they host Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day. Skapetis, previously of Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City, played for United’s under-23’s against Nottingham Forest on Monday.

“We asked Peter to come in so,” Wilder said. “It’s chance for us to watch him and see what he’s like. To see if he fits in with what we need and are trying to do.”

“Flexibility is important and it’s good to have players who can perform in a few different positions,” Wilder added. “We’ve already seen the benefits of that this season so that’s something we want.

“But we also want to have good cover in terms of people in their specialist positions. It’s important that, by and large, that’s where they are considered. Because, in most instances, that’s where they are going to be at their best. We don’t want too much chopping and changing because I don’t think that does the players themselves any good.”