Enda Stevens will surely have to fill in at CB for Sheffield United after latest injury news?
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Enda Stevens will surely have to fill in at CB for Sheffield United after latest injury news?

Enda Stevens will surely start at centre-back for Sheffield United against Southampton.

United host the Saints in the Premier League at 3pm on Saturday afternoon looking to win back-to-back league games for the first time this season.

Although still bottom of the table and almost certain to be relegated, the Blades will be buoyed by a midweek win over Aston Villa.

They achieved that 1-0 victory despite playing from the 57th minute with 10 men after Phil Jagielka was sent off.

Unfortunately for manager Chris Wilder, that now means Jagielka is suspended for this weekend’s match. Which only reduces his options in an area already ravaged by injury.


All of Wilder’s preferred back three of Chris Basham, John Egan and Jack O’Connell were injured for Villa’s visit to Bramall Lane.

In their absence, Ethan Ampadu and Kean Bryan played alongside Jagielka in central defence.

Now the latter is suspended. Meanwhile, other potential options Jack Robinson and Jack Rodwell are also injured.

Of those who are absent, Wilder says Basham and Jayden Bogle are the closest to returning. But Saturday will come too soon for them.

“Both the players will be missing for tomorrow, so that’s obviously a situation we’ll have to deal with and get through,” the United boss told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“Hopefully the two boys will be in contention for next weekend’s game at Leicester and definitely the last game before the international break against Chelsea in the cup.

“So fingers crossed we can get a couple back. It’s been a difficult period for us, but one we have to adjust and adapt to.”

Enda Stevens at CB for Sheffield United

Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Unless Wilder decides to change his trusted wing-back system, Stevens is seemingly the only option to join Ampadu and Bryan in defence.

The 53-year-old has shown little indication of deviating from three at the back for most of his almost five years in charge.

Although options there are limited, there’s little to suggest he will do so now.

Especially as Stevens has played in the position previously for the Blades.

Preferred as a wing-back, the Republic of Ireland international can operate on the left side of the back three. Ampadu would then probably take up the central role, with Bryan to the right of him.

With Stevens shifting inside from the flank, either Max Lowe or Ben Osborn could replace the 30-year-old out wide.

Yet that would be Wilder’s central defensive options stretched to their limits. There would be no room for any more injuries or suspensions.

Otherwise a change of formation would be forced upon him.

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