Bennett in Blades loan link

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Sheffield United are thought to be eyeing Birmingham City goalkeeper Ian Bennett as fresh cover to replace on-loan custodian Paul Gerrard next month.

Blades boss Neil Warnock will likely be unable extend Gerrard's three-month loan spell from Premiership side Everton for the rest of the season, meaning another senior keeper will be needed in his Bramall Lane squad.

Regular number one Paddy Kenny is still unavailable until the New Year following surgery on a damaged knee and Bennett may be the answer to Warnock's problem in the short term.

29-year-old Bennett is facing more competition in the keeper department at St Andrews after Nico Vaesen returned to fitness this week after an eight month absence while on-loan Fulham shot-stopper Maik Taylor currently commands Blues' number one jersey.

It remains to be seen if Birmingham boss Steve Bruce will allow Bennett to be loaned out and if the keeper would entertain the thought of playing for a spell in Division One.

Meanwhile, Paddy Kenny has revealed that his recovery from a knee injury has gone well, as he aims to return to The Blades' line-up early in the New Year.

"I'm happy with how things are going, especially now the crutches and brace have gone. When I had the cast on it felt like I was going nowhere, but now I can do more things," Kenny told the club's official website.

"I've now done a couple of sessions with Andy Leaning, a bit of feet movement and handling, to see what the reaction is like and I feel fine.

"I've been boosted by signing a new deal - it's hard enough getting a contract nowadays, let alone being injured, so that's great news and all I have to do now is get fit.

"I won't be ready to play until a good five or six weeks after Paul goes back - I'm aiming for early in the New Year."