Blackburn Rovers could enter the race for James Hanson after Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, hinted he could leave Bramall Lane later this month.
The Star understands Tony Mowbray’s side inquired about the centre-forward’s availability at the end of last season but decided against submitting an official bid.
But Rovers’ stance could change after it was revealed their League One rivals Scunthorpe are also keen to sign Hanson before the transfer window closes in 13 days time.
Graham Alexander, Wilder’s counterpart at Glanford Park, last night confirmed his interest in acquiring the 29-year-old but admitted Hanson’s hamstring complaint could hold-up the deal.
“There has been interest in a couple of players as there always is,” Wilder, the United manager, said. “When the team-sheets came out at Middlesbrough and Cardiff, and certain players were not involved, there has been an obvious question asked of us regarding them. James is still here, but he is injured at the moment.”
Hanson performed a key role as United, who return to Championship action against Barnsley tomorrow, cruised to promotion last term. But, after failing to command a regular place in Wilder’s starting eleven since then, he could be sacrificed as United look to strengthen the options at their disposal. Intriguingly, Rovers defender Darragh Lenihan is a confirmed target of Wilder’s, together with Southend captain Ryan Leonard and Conor Coady of Wolves. Should Mowbray resurrect his interest, United could potentially use Hanson as a bargaining tool to try and secure Lenihan’s release after seeing an approach rebutted by Ewood Park’s board of directors recently.
“I am loyal to the players who got us into the division, but we are always looking,” Wilder added. “Everybody recognises I have to wheel and deal in certain situations. It’s a learning process for me too.”
United, who will be without Richard Stearman for the visit of Barnsley, are also prepared to part company with John Brayford. The full-back is wanted by Burton Albion, where he spent most of last season on loan, but Wilder and his staff suspect officials at the Pirelli Stadium will wait until the final hours of the window before making their move.
“John is still here, so I think the ball is with Burton. I know there has been dialogue between both clubs,” Wilder said. “Until John is not here, he is in the group, training, and played last week against Walsall (in the Carabao Cup).
“There has been talks, between the two clubs, but that can change at any time, if they pull out, or they progress the deal. That’s out of my hands.”
“We’ll always try and do what needs to be done,” Wilder added. “Like I say, we’re loyal but the club as a whole, and what’s best for it, always has to come first.”