Sheffield United have a potential injury crisis in defence with both John Egan and Enda Stevens doubts for the weekend.
Egan suffered concussion just 14 minutes into the Republic of Ireland’s 3-0 defeat to England last Thursday and had to be substituted.
The defender did not play in Sunday’s 1-0 Nations League loss to Wales as a result.
Concussion protocols means Egan almost certainly won’t feature against Bulgaria in the same competition tomorrow, either.
It states that players must still rest for 24 hours after symptoms fade. They can then begin a gradual return to training, but must be cleared by a doctor before full contact resumes.
The minimum time they can return to playing is six days after the injury was sustained. Yorkshire Live reports that, as long as Egan’s symptoms disappeared relatively quickly, he will be fit to play West Ham United on Sunday.
What about the Enda Stevens injury?
It could be vital that Egan is available at the weekend, as fellow Irishman Stevens is also a doubt.
The 30-year-old withdrew from the squad before a ball was even kicked during the international break.
According to Independent.ie, it’s because of a knee injury Stevens picked up during the 4-1 defeat to Chelsea.
It’s thought that after a fortnight away from playing, the left-back “should” be fit to face West Ham.
Fingers crossed for fitness
With the Blades currently without Jack O’Connell for the season after having a knee operation, their back line is already an issue.
They relied on it during their impressive return to the Premier League in 2019/20. They finished ninth thanks in part to a defensive record only bettered by the eventual top three.
This term only four sides have conceded more than Chris Wilder’s team – who are currently bottom of the table with one point from eight games.
They enjoyed consistency in defence season, but Wilder has already fielded six different players in his back three in 2020/21.
George Baldock has started every match at right wing-back, but Stevens, Max Lowe and Ben Osborn have all been used on the left as well.
Last time out against the Blues, both Egan and Stevens played in central defence. Without them and with no O’Connell, Wilder would have to pick two from three to join Chris Basham.
The options would be Ethan Ampadu, Phil Jagielka and Jack Robinson.