Sheffield United: Blades star faces anxious wait as Bramall Lane prepares for fresh bid

John Brayford is wanted by Burton Albion: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
John Brayford is wanted by Burton Albion: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United expect Burton Albion to make another approach for John Brayford before tonight’s transfer deadline.

The defender spent most of last season on loan with Nigel Clough’s side and, despite claims the former United manager is now pursuing other targets, was the subject of talks between the two clubs last week.

Although Chris Wilder has reassured Brayford he will not be ostracised if a move fails to materialise, the 49-year-old is already happy with his options at wing-back and centre-half following the arrival of Richard Stearman, Enda Stevens, George Baldock earlier this summer.

However, after spending the past two months struggling to reach agreement over a fee, officials at Bramall Lane suspect Albion will wait until the last possible moment before lodging another bid. Clough knows United are loath to subsidise the deal by settling the remainder of Brayford’s contract but also, unless another club suddenly enters the race, that their negotiating position has been severely weakened by a lack of interest elsewhere.

Clough, who signed Brayford during his final season in charge of United, believes that could force them to broker a compromise.

“There’s still a situation with John Brayford,” Wilder said. “There’s still interest I think from Burton. And there have been enquiries for some of our players who have not been involved. It’s just looking medium and long term. Looking what we need and who, if anyone, we might need to sacrifice.”

John Brayford appeared in the first round of the Carabao Cup: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

John Brayford appeared in the first round of the Carabao Cup: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

James Hanson’s future with United is also shrouded in doubt after Scunthorpe expressed an interest in acquiring his services. The centre-forward watched last weekend’s win over Derby County from the stands as he recovers from injury.

“James is still out injured,” Wilder added. “He’s still got a situation with his hamstring. The interest has died off a bit because of that.”