Ricky Holmes could be making an earlier than expected return to Sheffield United this month.

Holmes is currently on a season long loan at Oxford United but has played just twice since November 17.

That is because the forward is struggling with a back injury. U’s manager Karl Robinson is considering ending the loan spell early as a result.

“We’ll be speaking to Sheffield United this week about the length (of lay-off) it’s going to be. We’re not 100 percent, although we have an idea,” Robinson told the Oxford Mail.

“If it is what we think we need to have a conversation about maybe going back, but we’ll speak to Sheffield United first.”

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

What next for Holmes?

Oxford are trying to free up funds in their budget to make new signings in January. They do not have the money to carry Holmes if his injury is long-term.

Robinson is hoping to sign a holding midfielder and two strikers, which suggests that the 31-year-old’s time at the Kassam Stadium is probably up.

What would happen next for Holmes is unclear. The attacker made a decent start to this season, scoring four goals in 16 games in all competitions.

However, even if fit Holmes is unlikely to get much game time for the Blades. He managed just five appearances for United after signing from Charlton Athletic in January 2018.

Holmes played under Chris Wilder at Northampton Town and the 51-year-old spent a long time trying to secure a reunion at Bramall Lane.

Yet when that finally happened, it quickly became clear that the forward is not cut out for Championship football. Holmes will turn 32 in June, so it unlikely that will change in the future either.

If fit it seems the only likely option will be that the Blades will try and loan him out to another League One club.

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