Chris Wilder has given the Sheffield United board a list of replacements for Jack O’Connell, reports The Sheffield Star.
O’Connell is expected to miss the remainder of this season as the defender is set to undergo knee surgery on Wednesday.
This is after discussions between the Blades medical staff, a specialist in London and the player himself.
O’Connell apparently has a long-standing knee problem and Wilder admits the 26-year-old has not been fully fit for some time.
The loss of the centre-back is a huge blow for the club, who made an impressive return to the Premier League last term with him in the team.
They finished ninth in their first top flight campaign in 12 years. Not only that, but they secured the fourth best defensive record in the division behind the top three.
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O’Connell was a big part of that, playing 33 league games and keeping 10 clean sheets.
Who will replace Jack O’Connell at Sheffield United?
In O’Connell’s absence, Jack Robinson filled in on the left side of defence during the 1-0 defeat to Leeds United on Sunday.
Robinson did a similar thing post-lockdown, playing in five of the 10 league fixtures following the return of football. O’Connell was clearly struggling with his knee back then as well.
Yet while Robinson has been solid enough since his January switch from Nottingham Forest, the 27-year-old is not as dynamic.
Which is unsurprising, considering O’Connell has made an unusual role in Wilder’s team his own. He is one of the now famed overlapping centre-backs and has mastered the position.
Robinson, in contrast, seems less inclined to push forwards. Although as a former left-back, the Liverpool academy product should be able to work on that.
The problem for Wilder is how much the Blades board will be willing to spend on a replacement for O’Connell. Money is already tight and the 53-year-old wants to bring in a new striker before Monday’s deadline as well.