Nigel Adkins has admitted he will assess whether more of his first-team squad will be able to leave on loan in the coming weeks - but insists: Sheffield United comes first.
Adkins allowed defender Craig Alcock to join Doncaster Rovers on loan earlier this week, following striker Marc McNulty out of the temporary exit door at Bramall Lane.
Michael Higdon is also out on loan at Oldham and while Adkins acknowledges the need for his players to be playing football, he is keen to strike a balance - especially with the busy festive period looming.
“We’ll have to see as we go with that,” Adkins, speaking after Tuesday evening’s penalty shootout defeat to Fleetwood which saw them exit the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, said.
“We have to make sure we have lads here wining games of football for us, first and foremost. We need to make sure we’re strong enough to deal with injuries and suspensions, and the demands of playing three games in a week.
“The fixtures are going to start becoming more intense soon enough, and we’ve got to be prepared for that.”
Jay McEveley and Terry Kennedy both featured for United on Tuesday evening after injury lay-offs, while James Wallace played 70 minutes before being withdrawn after suffering from cramp.
“James has had about an hour at Fleetwood, which is good for him,” the United boss added.
“You can see James has got ability but he needs to play consistent football, and this was a good opportunity to get him some game time.”
Louis Reed is a doubt for Saturday’s home clash with Southend after suffering a gash on his ankle at Fleetwood.