It feels like Sheffield United haven’t played for months as they prepare to take on Fulham this evening, pending the obvious clearance of Covid-19 tests and close contacts.
A number of Premier League and EFL games were cancelled this weekend as the virus threatens to once again overwhelm the sporting world. So far, the Blades have managed to stave off any serious outbreaks, with Oli McBurnie one of the only known cases of being unable to play due to close contact.
Today, Blades fans will be anxiously making their way down to Fulham knowing there is a chance the game could be cancelled. However, Paul Heckingbottom gave an update in his press conference and admitted the club has done all it can to try and curb any spread.
“We have had them (cases) while I’ve been in charge. But there’s no need for anyone to know. The other things we’ve been doing are to try and limit the spread. Changing meeting rooms for ventilation, smaller meetings, less meetings, more work outside. We are trying to stay ahead of the curve really,” Heckingbottom said.
“‘We’re going to get Covid cases. But we want to limit close contact cases. We’ve been working with the doctor and trying to mitigate as many circumstances as we can.”
Currently, clubs and leagues are trying to drive vaccinations among players. In line with Government guidance, clubs have been tightening up on procedures as Heckingbottom says here.
The QPR game being cancelled was a blow for Sheffield United. The team were beginning to motor under Heckingbottom and the QPR game would have been a real test of the side’s progress.
Now, though, the Blades face a big test at Fulham. Marco Silva’s side are one of the standout teams in the Championship and could quite easily overwhelm United, as they could any team in this division.
However, United can also be confident. Things have picked up under Heckingbottom. Results and performances were excellent in the wins at Cardiff and against Bristol City. And with two weeks training behind them, hopefully this Blades side will come out fighting tonight.
Momentum in this league is key. And with points to be got over Christmas, this Fulham game seems a key night for Sheffield United.