Heckingbottom admits Sheffield United couldn't afford Doyle return

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has revealed only finances stopped Tommy Doyle returning to the club in the summer.

Doyle spent last season on loan at Bramall Lane and was a key figure in the Blades' promotion to the Premier League. 

There was talk of a transfer over the summer but no deal could be done and the midfielder instead went to Wolves on loan with an option to buy.

He makes his first return to the Blades on Saturday, but could have still been wearing the red and white shirt if things were different.

Asked if a move in the summer was ever close, Heckingbottom said: "No. Listen, he wanted to and we'd have taken him, without a doubt. But City were keen to sell. Finances, that's all it was."

Heckingbottom is proud of the progress Doyle made at the club last season.

"He had a couple of loans which were indifferent but someone I'd seen a lot of and knew a lot about," he said. "I knew his character and also his technical ability. 

I was pretty sure he was what we were looking for and what we were after. He did great. We were good for him and he was good for us. I have nothing but praise for him, he's a good lad.

"We've had lots of good loans like that. Some (loan players) transition into it easier than others. Things fall into place and they can do it.

"I wouldn't necessarily say Tommy was like that, or Macca (James McAtee). They had to fight and scrap to get in, and we had to work hard to get them to the level that would improve the XI. But it will always be about what you do on the pitch. Always."