Sheffield United are growing increasingly confident that Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Daniel Lafferty will remain at Bramall Lane until the end of the season.
The defenders, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley respectively, have emerged as key figures in the team which enters Boxing Day’s fixture against Oldham Athletic second in the League One table.
Although Wilder is still awaiting official confirmation, he last night revealed that Lafferty is unlikely to be recalled to Turf Moor during next month’s transfer window while the mood music at Molineux suggests Ebanks-Landell will also be allowed to complete his season long loan in South Yorkshire.
“We’re very confident that Dan will be extended into the New Year,” Wilder said. “We are talking with Burnley about that on a regular basis. He’s come in, a Northern Ireland international, and done really well. He’s been part of that winning team and that winning group.”
Lafferty, whose contract with the Premier League club expires this summer, has made 18 appearances for United since arriving in August and, Wilder recently acknowledged, could win a permanent deal if he continues to impress. Ebanks-Landell’s situation has been complicated by Wolves’ decision to sack Walter Zenga, who sanctioned his departure, nearly nine weeks ago. Paul Lambert, the Italian’s replacement, asked the 24-year-old to train with Wolves on Monday and, despite being more coy on his discussions with the former Aston Villa chief, Wilder said: “Ethan is training with us again now. Their new manager spoke to me and said is there any chance of getting Ethan in for a couple of days and I said it wasn’t a problem.
“We’re expecting an answer pretty quickly. We’d love to extend that into the New Year and everybody understands, I think, why. They’ve got a few things happening in their January window so you never know. We are making plans if Ethan isn’t here, as you would expect us to, but we want him to stay. We’ll have to wait and see.”
With Lambert insisting Ebanks-Landell will only be hauled back to Wolves if he is guaranteed first team football, it appears only an injury crisis at Molineux can now scupper United’s plans to retain the centre-half’s services. Richard Stearman’s future in the Midlands could also have a bearing but, barring a last minute change of heart, Lambert recently refuted suggestions that his loan from Fulham is set to be terminated.
Speaking soon after his move north, Ebanks-Landell acknowledged that Stearman’s presence effectively blocked his own route into Wolves’ starting eleven.