Sheffield United defender, Jack O’Connell, could well be back before the end of the season if Chris Wilder’s prediction pans out.
Despite initially ruling O’Connell out for the full season, Wilder seemed to hint in his press conference yesterday that the Blades defender may well be available before the end of the campaign.
Speaking about injuries within the squad and with videos and pictures emerging of O’Connell being back in the gym, Wilder confirmed things are looking good for the United star, although with a big caveat.
“I mean Jack’s situation for the season and longer is we’ll only know when he’s got a ball back at his feet. We’d really wrote Jack out of our plans until well into the new year…maybe February,” Wilder said.
“The defining moment for Jack will be when he’s back into full training. Which is ball introduced, movements he has to do, and obviously contact with other players as part of a physical game”.
O’Connell is currently doing basic stretching and cycling exercises following his operation. His loss to the first XI has been a devastating one, with the Blades failing to land a replacement and Enda Stevens and Jack Robinson both struggling to fill his boots thus far.
Any sort of return this season would represent a massive bonus for Wilder.
We can but hope, O’Connell needs to be right though
We’d all obviously love to see O’Connell back in action as soon as possible but there is no point working through the majority of the season without him and then rushing him back.
February is a sensible return date for ‘JoC’. But as Wilder says, even then it will come down to a number of different factors and how his knee holds up in certain situations.
Players do come back strong sometimes. Harry Kane is a fine example of a player who seems to recover quickly and be able to get on with things.
Hopefully, O’Connell can follow the England skipper’s lead and get back for what could be a crucial part of our season in the new year.