Beaten Blades Hit By Shortage Of Defenders

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SHEFFIELD United could be forced back into the loan market to prevent a selection crisis from damaging their bid for automatic promotion, manager Danny Wilson has admitted.

United could travel to Walsall tomorrow with only two senior defenders at their disposal after Matthew Lowton and Harry Maguire were both sent-off during Saturday’s shock defeat by Oldham.

With Haiti international Lecsinel Jean-Francois sustaining what appeared to be a serious knee injury during the first-half, United finished the contest with striker Richard Cresswell and Michael Doyle playing in a makeshift back-four. Wilson told The Star: “We’ll assess what is available and then take things from there. We might have to look at the loan market - we always try and keep on top of who we can and can’t get so there are potential options - but it’s not always guaranteed that you can actually bring them in.” Wilson added: “Lecsy has hurt his knee and we don’t know how serious it is yet. But he was in a considerable amount of pain. He definitely won’t play at Walsall.”

United seemed on course for a win over Oldham when Lowton and Ched Evans pounced before the break. But having seen Jean-Francois carried off United unravelled in alarming fashion and were beaten 3-2 when Shefki Kuqi converted a 90th minute penalty.

They remain second in the League One table four points ahead of third placed Sheffield Wednesday.

Wilson, who handed Andy Taylor his first start in over 14 months when central defender Neill Collins was forced to withdraw following a “personal family matter,” said: “It could have been worse because most of the teams around us drew but I don’t want us to be looking at the teams around us. I want us to keep looking forward and trying to drive on.”