The Sheffield United injury update has revealed both good and bad news ahead of the trip to Preston North End.
The Blades are expecting Jack O’Connell to be fit for the match at Deepdale. That’s despite coming off in the 76th minute of last weekend’s defeat to Bristol City with a calf problem.
However, Mark Duffy is still receiving treatment for his Achilles issue and won’t be available – reports the Sheffield Star.
“We’ve got a squad for a reason,” said manager Chris Wilder.
“I always maintained we’d be lucky to go all the way through without having some issues to contend with but there’s players, talented players, waiting for a chance and who are ready to step in.”
How much will they be missed?
O’Connell had been one of the most consistent players for United over the past few seasons. The defender recently started 100 consecutive league matches for the club before injury ruled him out of three games in February.
O’Connell had helped the Blades to the last four of their run of seven successive clean sheets in the Championship. Of course that came to an end with the 3-2 home loss to Bristol City.
That said, O’Connell is still a crucial player for Wilder’s side and alongside Chris Basham and John Egan makes up a third of probably the best central defensive trio available.
As for Duffy, it could actually have been argued at the start of this campaign that he was the single most important player to United. That is because, with Liverpool loanee Ben Woodburn struggling for form, the 33-year-old was the only natural option in attacking midfield.
In Wilder’s preferred 3-4-1-2 formation, that role is crucial. However, since the loan signing of Kieran Dowell from Everton in January that over-reliance on Duffy has lessened.
Yet don’t take away from the fact that with five league goals in 2018/19, the midfielder is still a key figure.