Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom is hardly flush with options ahead of tonight’s crunch clash with Middlesbrough at Bramall Lane.
The return of Chris Wilder is the big talking point in the city but for Heckingbottom, it will be business as usual as he looks to take a valuable three points. Heckingbottom, as we know, was brought to the club by Wilder and the Blades boss has admitted he’ll be sharing a beer with his counterpart afterwards.
But in terms of selection, Heckingbottom is in a worse place than Wilder. The Middlesbrough boss could be without Riley McGree, but for United, things are worse.
Injury Problems For Sheffield United
Like in previous games, United are without long-term absentees like Rhian Brewster and Jayden Bogle. Short-term, the likes of Chris Basham are out, while George Baldock is facing a race against time to play too. Charlie Goode is also suspended, while Enda Stevens remains out.
And while the game against Forest saw Ben Osborn return for a sub appearance, Paul Heckingbottom has hinted that Osborn could well miss out against Middlesbrough, especially when it comes to starting.
“He offers good options. Obviously he rushed back. That’s about where he is at the minute. We can’t throw him in because he’s coming back from a long lay off with the hamstring injury, so we have to be careful of that,” he told his press conference.
“The reality is we’re that light on numbers but if we take a risk on a player who is still a risk, we end up losing them for the season and we can’t do that. Delighted to have him back in the squad and training, he gives us those options.”
Osborn was a Chris Wilder signing during United’s time in the Premier League. Since arriving, he has done well and filled in across the pitch. This season, Osborn has scored three times and assisted two in 25 appearances.