Sheffield United could attempt to bring Joe Riley back to Bramall Lane next season after the on-loan defender’s stay with the League One leaders was curtailed by injury.
Riley had been scheduled to remain with Chris Wilder’s squad until May after leaving Manchester United earlier this term but returned to his parent club last week following a freak training ground accident.
Although it has since been confirmed the 20-year-old will miss the remainder of the campaign - he dislocated a shoulder after falling awkwardly - Wilder said: “Working with Joe again is something, if it’s possible, we’d be interested in. When we brought him here it was always with a view to doing something, depending upon his situation there, next year as well. He’s a really talented player who we think could grow with us. Coming here was a chance for us to have a good look at him and, of course, for him to have a good look at us.”
Wilder admitted wing-backs Kieron Freeman and Daniel Lafferty were being “pushed hard” by Riley after the youngster made his full debut for United at Bristol Rovers last month. Despite undergoing treatment in the North-West, the youngster is known to have kept in touch with other members of Wilder’s squad as they prepare for Saturday’s visit to Rochdale.
“Of course, what happens is up to Manchester United and Joe himself,” Wilder, the United manager, said. “But it’s great to see people like Joe and Harry Chapman, who is coming back to us (from Middlesbrough) staying in contact with the lads when they’re away. It shows the type of spirit the boys have created here behind the scenes.”