Sheffield United boss on possibility of Jack O'Connell needing another operation for knee injury

Sheffield United caretaker manager, Paul Heckingbottom, is hopeful Jack O’Connell won’t require further surgery for his knee injury.

O’Connell has missed almost all of this season after having an operation back in September.

The defender had played just two games at that point and won’t feature again this campaign as he continues his recovery.

They had previously been hope O’Connell would be back playing for United by now.

Former boss, Chris Wilder, said that the 27-year-old would return in mid-February.

"People in Japan are excited about Furuhashi and Celtic" | Japanese football expert Alan Gibson

O’Connell then suffered a setback. Yet Wilder once again suggested the centre-back would be back sooner than expected.

That was two months ago. With relegation from the Premier League now confirmed, it seems the South Yorkshire club are taking a much more cautious approach.

More problems for Jack O’Connell and his knee injury?

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Despite this careful stance from the Blades, Heckingbottom still isn’t ruling out further surgery for O’Connell.

“He’s going through a similar sort of approach he went through last time, but at a slower pace,” the 43-year-old told BBC Radio Sheffield:

“If at any point there’s swelling or a reaction, it’s obviously a step back and then you keep reassessing that way.

“Hopefully with this ‘slowly slowly’ approach there won’t be any steps back and there won’t be any need to have any sort of procedures again.

“If it can all be addressed and done in this fashion, by taking his time and gradually building up, then everyone will be delighted.”

The absence of O’Connell has certainly affected United in their second successive top flight campaign.

He played 33 league matches in 2019/20, helping the Blades to ninth in the table with the fourth best defensive record in the division.

Without O’Connell, they are now rock bottom. Only West Bromwich Albion have conceded more than them.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know