Sheffield United manager, Chris Wilder, has been discussing the futures of loanees Panos Retsos and Richairo Zivkovic.
The duo joined the Blades on loan from Bayer Leverkusen and Changchun Yatai respectively during the January transfer window. Both deals have the option to make their moves permanent at the end of this season.
Neither have played for their new club yet. Retsos has been included in the last two match-day squads but not made it off the substitutes’ bench. Zivkovic, meanwhile, is still trying to rediscover his full fitness having not played since November.
However, the Yorkshire Post reports that both players are in line for their debut this evening. United travel to Reading in the fifth round of the FA Cup and Wilder is likely to make several changes.
Do Retsos and Zivkovic have futures at Sheffield United?
Despite having not stepped on the pitch for his team yet, Wilder is ready to activate the clauses to keep the pair at Bramall Lane beyond this term.
“I’m not going to take a chance because I need to see them in a game, they get into the team through an opportunity, they have to earn the right,” the 52-year-old said.
“That doesn’t say we won’t take up their options even if some don’t play any minutes at all. We’ll trust our judgement in those cases.”
Retsos is a central defender, brought in primarily to act as cover and competition for Chris Basham on the right side of the back three. Of the trio of centre-backs that earned promotion with the Blades from the Championship, Basham is arguably the weakest link.
Still a massive asset to the club, the 31-year-old hasn’t quite made the step up to the Premier League as successfully as John Egan and Jack O’Connell.
Retsos could therefore push Basham for a starting XI place before too long.
As for Zivkovic, he will be competing for a spot in perhaps the most crowded area of the pitch – upfront. Wilder currently has five first team strikers, but does rotate them on a regular basis.