The injury to Enda Stevens isn’t as bad as first feared, according to Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
The Sheffield United wing-back was taken off at half-time during the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Stevens had given the Blades the lead in the Premier League clash at Bramall Lane through a superb strike. Yet just four minutes later a Neal Maupay header rescued a point for Brighton.
Stevens was replaced by Ben Osborn at the break because of what turned out to be a calf strain. But McCarthy has good news for United fans about when the 29-year-old will be back in action.
“He was taken off more as a precaution than anything else and Chris Wilder hopes to have Enda available for the Premier League game against Norwich on Saturday week,” the Ireland boss told FAI.ie.
“If he gets back in time for that one then he will have plenty of time for first team action before we meet up in Dublin on March 24.”
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McCarthy is obviously hopeful Stevens will be available to him for the Euro 2020 playoff semi-final with Slovakia. Victory in that two-legged tie will see the Irish face the winner of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Ireland for a place at the tournament.
How Enda Stevens injury could affect Sheffield United
Luckily for United they don’t have a league game this weekend, giving Stevens more time to get back to fitness. They were due to play Aston Villa. But that fixture has been postponed due to them facing Manchester City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
It means the next outing for Chris Wilder’s side is the FA Cup fifth round trip to Reading on March 3.
There is every chance that Stevens would have been rested for that match even if fit. Wilder has tended to rotate his squad in the cup competitions so far this season.
Stevens has been hugely important to the Blades in 2019/20 following their promotion. The left-back has started every league game to date, as well as scoring two goals and providing two assists.