Blades blow as injured Etrl faces KO

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SHEFFIELD United fear Johannes Ertl could miss the rest of the season after injuring a knee during Tuesday’s reserve-team victory over Nottingham Forest.

Micky Adams, the South Yorkshire club’s manager, confirmed last night that Ertl has undergone a scan to assess the full extent of the damage with specialists expected to deliver their findings this morning.

The Austrian joins suspended duo Lee Williamson and Darius Henderson on the sidelines for tomorrow’s visit of Leeds.

“Johnny’s problem is potentially serious,” said Adams. “We don’t know yet whether he’ll play for us again this term.

“It’s a blow because the lad can play a number of different positions – either in defence or midfield – and we want to keep as many options available as we can.

“The scans are being reviewed and we should know exactly what is going on shortly. The experts are having a look.”

Full-back Matthew Lowton also sustained a knock as Mark Smith’s side beat Forest 3-0 thanks to goals from Marcus Bent, Erik Tonne and Jean Calve but returned to training yesterday.

Norway international Bjorn Helge Riise could also come into contention after missing Saturday’s defeat at Watford with a hamstring problem.

“He’s back with us now so that’s good news,” added Adams.

Matchfacts

BLADES (possible): Simonsen, Nosworthy, Lowry, Collins, Mattock, Doyle, Montgomery, Yeates, Cresswell, Evans, Vokes (4-4-2).

LEEDS (possible): Schmeichel, Lichaj, Bromby, McCartney, O’Brien, Gradel, Kilkenny, Howson, Johnson, Paynter, Snodgrass (4-4-2).

The Referee

Mike Jones: A member of the Select Group, the Cheshire official will be making only his fourth foray into the Championship when he takes charge at Bramall Lane tomorrow. Jones oversaw Sheffield United’s 1-0 defeat at Barnsley in December and also refereed United when they faced Aston Villa in the FA Cup earlier this year. Has issued 101 yellow and five red cards in 28 outings.

Tale of the tape

If Sheffield United need any encouragement ahead of tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby, they need only look at their opponents’ record at Bramall Lane. Leeds have not beaten United on home soil since April 1992.