Harper seals Blades switch

Midfielder not expected to play for Reading again

Harper: Off to Bramall Lane

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Brendan Rodgers admits James Harper has 'probably' played his last game for Reading after completing a season-long loan move to Sheffield United.

Harper is in the final year of his contract at Reading and the midfielder has been allowed to join the Blades in a deal which is set to see Brian Howard head in the opposite direction.

The former Arsenal youngster has spent over eight years with the Royals, but manager Rodgers does not expect the 29-year-old to return to the Madejski Stadium.

"James has been a wonderfully loyal servant to this football club but, with only one year remaining on his contract, his loan move to Sheffield United probably brings his time at Reading to an end," Rodgers told the club's official website.

"He's been first class over the course of the summer and has great respect for what we're trying to do here, but we both agree that it is his time to move on.

"We're looking to change what we're doing here and, the way football works, that means some people come in and some people go.

"James has gone to a football club that will be good for him and he goes with the best wishes of everyone at the club - the staff, the players and the supporters."

Blackwell delight

Meanwhile, Blades boss Kevin Blackwell is delighted to have added Harper to his squad, having been a long-time fan of the midfielder.

Blackwell said: "I have been chasing James for a long time. He will give us a presence in the midfield which we have missed since Gary Speed picked up his injury.

"He's been in the Championship Team of the Season for about four of the last eight years and others were chasing him, so I'm delighted to snap him up."