Peter Skapetis is set to remain with Sheffield United over the Christmas period, manager Chris Wilder has revealed.
Skapetis joined the League One club on trial earlier this month and played during Monday’s Professional Development League victory over Nottingham Forest at Stocksbridge.
The 21-year-old, a former Australia youth international, is available on a free transfer after leaving Stoke City and Wilder said: “He’s done okay, he’ll be with us for another few days. He’s been at Stoke, he’s been at QPR and did well recently (on trial) with Cardiff City. It was a free one, if you like, to have a look at him and he’ll be staying with us for a little longer.”
Wilder was speaking at United’s Steelphalt Academy training complex this morning ahead of Boxing Day’s fixture against Oldham Athletic. The match is the first of two home matches his team will play over the Christmas period with Northampton Town, who Wilder led to promotion from League Two last term, scheduled to travel north on New Year’s Eve.
United are second in the table, three points behind leaders Scunthorpe, and Wilder said: “We’ve talked about our home record and the wins we’ve string together have been very impressive. It’s important we keep that going because you’ve got to be strong at home. But we are expecting Oldham to bring their best game and Northampton to bring their best game. I watch lots of teams and, when they come here, they are a completely different beast. If they aren’t at their best then we’ll take that. But we’re preparing for them to bring their ‘a’ games.”
Although United boast an eight point advantage over fifth-placed Rochdale, Wilder disputed suggestions his side, Scunthorpe, Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City are locked in a four-way battle for the division’s two automatic promotion slots.
“The pressure is on the teams at the top to be consistent and keep picking-up results,” he said. “But there’s a lot of quality teams in this division and some, being honest, who I don’t think have really started their seasons yet. “Look at Charlton and Millwall. But there are some unfancied teams who, being honest, can quite easily string three or four wins together as well.”
Wilder is set to have a near full-strength squad at his disposal for the meeting with Oldham, although Chris Hussey is a doubt. Stefan Scougall returned to training earlier this week after recovering from a hamstring problem while James Wilson could feature on the bench.
Wilder said: “Chris Hussey, he’s possibly miss out. He’s got a bruised shoulder. We’re not expecting it to clear up in time for Boxing Day but we’re hoping it will for New Year’s Eve. We’re all fit and ready to go apart from that.
“If the team goes well on Boxing Day then it will be pretty difficult to change that around. But we will do if we have to. Whatever team we put out, we’ll expect to do well.”