John Egan will be serving a suspension on Sunday when Sheffield United face Leeds United in the Premier League.
It’s after Egan was shown a straight red card in the 12th minute of Monday’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa. The defender was adjudged to be the last man and to have pulled Ollie Watkins back.
The visitors performed well with 10 men, keeping Villa at bay until the 63rd minute when Ezri Konsa headed in the only goal of the game.
The decision angered manager Chris Wilder, who made his feelings known in his post-match interview with BBC Radio Sheffield.
It now remains to be seen whether the Blades will appeal the decision, but as things stand Egan will be banned for one match.
This means that the Republic of Ireland international will miss the weekend clash with newly promoted Leeds.
Who will replace John Egan as he serves his suspension?
The absence of Egan is a blow for Wilder, with the 27-year-old a key part of the defence that served him so well last season.
The Blades only conceded 39 league goals in 2019/20. However, six of those came in the two matches that Egan missed.
It means Wilder has a big decision to make for Sunday’s 12pm kick-off at Bramall Lane. When Egan was dismissed at Villa Park, the 52-year-old changed the shape and brought Ethan Ampadu on for David McGoldrick.
It saw Chris Basham move into midfield, with Ampadu playing alongside Jack O’Connell in a back four.
“We feel that Ethan was more comfortable at centre half than Bash, so we had to make that change to bring Ethan on,” Wilder explained afterwards.
Yet unless he decides to disband his usual wing-back system against Leeds, it doesn’t necessarily mean Ampadu will come in for Egan.
Basham and O’Connell are the natural fits in the overlapping centre-back roles. Ampadu looks to be an obvious alternative to the former, as well as being preferred in a four-man back line.
When Egan was absent last term, Phil Jagielka occupied his role in the middle of the defence. Jagielka did the same last week during the Carabao Cup defeat to Burnley.
We therefore think that the 38-year-old is still the most likely to come in for Egan against the Whites. Yet don’t rule out Chelsea loanee Ampadu being given another chance.