The World Cup comes at a good time for Sheffield United, with injuries running wild at Bramall Lane at the moment.
The return of a number of players will be a huge boost for Paul Heckingbottom. The likes of Sander Berge, John Fleck, and Max Lowe are all hoping to be fit for the return against Huddersfield.
Of course, United have eyes on two players during the World Cup. Iliman Ndiaye and Adam Davies are United’s representatives.
But what about when football returns? With January around the corner, players coming back to fitness, and a busy schedule, lots could change.
Here, then, we’ve looked at FIVE predictions for what could happen at Sheffield United after the World Cup.
Sander Berge sold in January
A number of United players are heading towards being out of contract in the summer of 2023. Worryingly, though, there’s also a number who will be out of contract in 2024.
Among that group are the likes of Sander Berge and Iliman Ndiaye. Two players regarded by many as United’s top performers, it will be hard to keep the pair in January.
Berge’s injury has perhaps put some clubs off. However, so many were interested in the summer. And if big money comes in, which in turn allows United to tie down players like McBurnie, Ndiaye and Norwood, then there’s a big chance Berge goes.
Liverpool and Barcelona have been credited with an interest in the Norwegian.
Ndiaye to come back even better
There can’t be many better feelings in football than playing in a World Cup. Ndiaye has got that nod with Senegal and he could come back to Sheffield absolutely buzzing.
The opportunity to feature in Qatar and spend a period of time with top players like Sadio Mane and others is something Ndiaye and United can benefit from.
If he does come back even more inspired, then the rest of the Championship will need to sit up and take notice.
Jack O’Connell to finally make some sort of return
It’s such a massive shame we haven’t seen Jack O’Connell come back from injury. The more he features in the SUTV media room, the more it seems unlikely he’ll be back soon.
However, we can all dream and 2023 might well be the time for O’Connell to make his return. If he does, then you can expect Bramall Lane to deliver one of the loudest cheers in recent times.
Surprise January investment
If United can navigate the tricky Christmas period and come out of that on top of the Championship, then Paul Heckingbottom will have a big case for the board backing him.
The time is now for United under this ownership to get back to the Premier League. With so many players out of contract in the summer, Prince Abdullah and co need to ensure this squad is equipped to challenge.
If we are indeed top or well in the mix as expected, then backing Heckingbottom with one or two experienced players – like we did with Madine and Hogan in 2019 – could be crucial.
On the flipside, if injuries persist and we start to dip, then the board will be left with no option but to put money in for new players.
Academy players emerge to play big role
We’ve already seen a number of youngsters get minutes this season. Oliver Arblaster, Andre Brooks and Sai Sachdev have all been put into the action by Paul Heckingbottom.
Those three, and others, could well play their part in the run-in. Especially, if injuries continue and there are no new signings in January.
Names such as Antwoine Hackford, Sydie Peck, and Louie Marsh are known to be highly-rated at Shirecliffe. If the squad remains threadbare, then Heckingbottom might well throw them in.