Sheffield United will retain goalkeeper Jamal Blackman for the rest of the season after holding talks with Chelsea over the future of the former England youth international.

In his fourth loan spell away from west London, the 24-year-old made an encouraging start to life at Bramall Lane by starting 19 of the club's first 20 Championship fixtures.

But since being dropped for the defeat at Bristol City in December and replaced by Simon Moore, Blackman has made just a single appearance for the Blades.

Cameron Carter-Vickers' return to Tottenham Hotspur last week after making 17 appearances on loan for United sparked speculation Blackman could follow having trickled down the pecking order.

But manager Chris Wilder has confirmed that following healthy discussions with Chelsea the 'keeper will remain for the duration of the 2017-18 campaign.

"The good thing about it is Chelsea understood it and didn't call him back," he told The Star. "I thought that was great, about how they think about developing players.

"It might have come as a shock to him but not once, like Cam, has he sulked and come to me. Not once has he come and said 'I don't like this or that,' even though he did when he was in the team. Fair play to Chelsea for recognising that.

"And I've got to say, if Simon Moore plays every game between now and the end of the season, then he's going to have to have done well to keep an outstanding goalkeeper out of the team."

Blackman missed the win at Norwich City last weekend due to a groin injury but is expected to return to the first team for the FA Cup fourth round tie against Preston North End on Saturday [27 January].

Carter-Vickers was allowed to return to Tottenham after the signing of Ryan Leonard, with Wilder unwilling to compromise United's relationship with the Premier League by leaving him languishing on the bench.

However, Wilder does not foresee a similar scenario with Blackman who he expects to push Moore all the way for a permanent recall until the end of the season.

"Jamal is closer to it than Cam, the team that is," the manager added. "He's keeping Simon right on his toes. His performance was excellent against (Sheffield) Wednesday in the derby recently, one save in particular, and I don't think we've made enough of those big saves, both of them, at times.

"But Jam, I've got to say, has been excellent in training and if that lifts Simon, that's great. If Simon dips, or he gets injured, Jamal is there. He'll learn from this and become an even better goalkeeper. He was really good at the start."

Jamal Blackman
Blackman has made 20 appearances this season but is no longer Sheffield United's first choice. Getty Images