Sheffield United: Turner and Atkins hope to become Blades

Iain Turner has joined Sheffield United on trial

Iain Turner has joined Sheffield United on trial

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Sheffield United could be poised to sign either Iain Turner or Ross Atkins, writes James Shield.

The two goalkeepers have been invited to audition for role of Mark Howard’s deputy after George Long joined Oxford on loan.

With Nigel Clough, who last night confirmed United lodged an official bid for Cardiff City defender John Brayford earlier this month, also keen for Howard’s current understudy George Willis to gain first team experience, he said: “We’re taking a look at Iain and Ross and then we’ll be making a decision pretty soon. George Long has gone out to further his development and ideally we’d like to let George Willis do the same so we’ll probably need some experience in there.”

Both Atkins and Turner, previously of Everton, are free agents after leaving Derby County and Barnsley respectively. United are also stepping-up their search for a new centre-half and full-back after Clough temporarily called-off his attempt to prise former loanee Brayford away from the Championship club.

“Our priority is to replace Harry Maguire after he went to Hull City,” Clough said. “Ideally that would have been with John but he’s staying at Cardiff for now.

“We made a bid and they didn’t say it wasn’t enough, they said he’s not for sale. If the situation changes then we’ll be in there again and John knows that as well.”

“We don’t mind what level they come from,” the United manager added. “Just so long as they are a good player.

“But we want that experience Harry had. You don’t have to be 32 or 33 to get it as he showed.

“We’re made a few telephone calls and enquiries for people. I don’t think anything will happen before the weekend but you never know.

“We’re close but probably not quite that close.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1