Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has confirmed injury will keep John Egan out for the next eight weeks.
Egan was stretchered off during the 3-0 Premier League defeat to West Ham United on Monday and was later seen on crutches.
It’s since been confirmed that the defender has dislocated his toe and now faces almost two months on the sidelines.
This is a major blow to the Blades in their battle to try and avoid relegation.
They are already bottom of the table and 14 points from safety ahead of facing fellow strugglers Fulham on Saturday evening.
While many have struggled for form this season, Egan has remained a key player and a rock at the back.
Being without the 28-year-old is just another problem to add to an ever-growing list of them for Wilder.
Egan injury a blow but there is better news elsewhere
Yet while he took with one hand, Wilder gave with another during his pre-match press conference.
Jack O’Connell has been absent since the second game of 2020/21 after having knee surgery.
Initially it was thought the centre-back wouldn’t play again this term, but then Wilder suggested an earlier return.
This hope was further boosted when footage emerged of O’Connell training.
But then the 26-year-old suffered a setback and that was dashed.
However, while the recovery process remains a gradual one, Wilder does have some positive news concerning O’Connell.
“Jack’s out on the grass at the moment. We’re hoping he can step up his return in the next couple of weeks,” the Blades boss said.
While O’Connell isn’t quite a like-for-like replacement for Egan, having him back and available would be a huge positive.
In his absence, United have struggled badly on the left side of their defence. Ethan Ampadu has finally filled the void in recent weeks, but the Chelsea loanee could easily shift into Egan’s central position to allow O’Connell to play alongside him.