Picking a Sheffield United XI for tonight’s big clash with Blackburn Rovers is one of nigh on impossible, given the current injury crisis engulfing Bramall Lane.
The Blades have had a run of rotten luck and Paul Heckingbottom confirmed this week that David McGoldrick and Jayden Bogle will join Rhian Brewster in missing the rest of the season. It is the short-term, though, that is also posing an issue for the United boss.
George Baldock, Chris Basham, and Rhys Norrington-Davies are all known to have picked up some sort of knock at the weekend. Heckingbottom said they’d be assessed daily, but did also hint that the Blackburn game might come too soon for the trio. Of the three, Basham’s injury seemed the most innocuous and there could be a glimmer of hope he can play through the pain barrier.
Wing-Back Options For Heckingbottom
After having a squad that looked so rich in depth at the beginning of January, this spate of injuries has hit United hard in a key position.
If Basham is fit, then he will likely get the nod at right wing-back. Charlie Goode could then start at centre-half. But Femi Seriki is also believed to be in Heckingbottom’s thoughts. The youngster is back from a nightmare spell with Beerschot and the Blades boss has already said he won’t hesitate to put young players in.
The left side poses even more of an issue. Both Enda Stevens and Ben Osborn are out, meaning if Rhys Norrington-Davies doesn’t make it, then Jack Robinson might be the only option. That would allow Ben Davies to return to the starting XI but would, you feel, limit United’s impact in the attacking third.
Other, more ‘out there’ options could including using Kyron Gordon. There is also the notion of sticking Sander Berge on the right. That move, though, would be hugely surprising and comes with plenty of risk.
Predicted Sheffield United line-up v Blackburn Rovers
We think Basham might be the one to make it, fitness-wise and that will be a big boost for the Blades. Beyond that, we think another change in midfield could happen, while the third attacking slot alongside Gibbs-White and Sharp also has potential for change.
However, we think Heckingbottom will stick pretty much to the side that hammered Swansea as best he can. With enforced changes on the way, it makes little sense to make other changes if not necessary.