Kevin Blackwell is "optimistic" that Matthew Kilgallon will remain at Sheffield United next season.

The defender's future is unclear with Wolves, Birmingham and Wigan all being linked with the centre-back, but Blackwell is confident the former Leeds United player will be at the club for the opening fixture against Middlesbrough.

The Blades manager told the Sheffield Star: "I have held preliminary talks with Matt and those negotiations will continue when I return from holiday next week. Of course I want him to stay, and I am optimistic that he will."

The 24-year-old played 46 times for the Blades last season and was a key factor in their progress to the Championship play-off final and the club are keen for him to extend the three-and-a-half year contract he signed in January 2007.

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