Sheffield United have injury concerns in defence ahead of the Steel City derby.
John Egan was forced off at half-time during the 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion with a calf problem. Martin Cranie was later withdrawn because of the same issue.
Jack O’Connell and George Baldock were already absent from the game with injuries. It means manager Chris Wilder could have a selection headache at the back for next week’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
The Blades finished the match at the Hawthorns with a back three of Chris Basham, Richard Stearman and Enda Stevens. Usual left-back Stevens has been filling in there because of a lack of options.
This has given Marvin Johnson a place in the team and the Middlesbrough loanee has impressed. However, he too was also noticeably struggling by the end of the victory at West Brom.
Wilder may soon have to call on Kean Bryan or Jake Wright.
There could be good news for United, however, with BBC Sheffield Sport Editor, Andy Giddings, reporting that Cranie, Egan and O’Connell should all be fit to face the Owls.
#sufc CW says John Egan, Martin Craine and JO’C should be fine for the Steel City derby.
— Andy Giddings (@Gids1980) February 23, 2019
This will leave Wilder with an altogether new problem – who to play at the back?
Basham, Egan and O’Connell have formed the main central defence for much of the season. Yet with Cranie, Egan and Stevens there the Blades have now kept three successive clean sheets.
It would therefore perhaps seem harsh to break up that selection; even if O’Connell in particular has been considered among the best centre-backs in the Championship this term.
What it should mean is that Wilder has plenty of defensive options at Hillsborough. Which is good, because with only Boro and Bristol City having conceded fewer in 2018/19, United’s success is largely due to their solidity at the back.