SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson last night lamented the loss of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing ahead of next weekend’s Steel City derby.
The on-loan winger has returned to parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers for medical assessment after damaging his hamstring during the recent Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success over Rotherham.
Despite admitting the door is now open for those on the periphery of his starting 11, including youngsters such as Erik Tonne and Danny Philliskirk, to stake claims for a more prominent role, Wilson admitted: “We brought Nathaniel here for a reason. He brought qualities to the club that we didn’t have before.
“One of those was pure out and out pace so of course it’s always disappointing when you lose someone.
“It means an option has gone, but there’s no point in moaning and groaning about it.
“These things happen in football and you just have to get on with it.”
Barring a miraculous recovery, Mendez-Laing is not expected to return to action until next month’s League One fixture with Stevenage.
An initial diagnosis suggests the 19-year-old escaped serious injury when he pulled up towards the end of the 2-1 victory at Don Valley Stadium.
Medical staff at Molineux are expected to divulge the full extent of the problem within the next 48 hours before deciding where the former England youth international will undergo his rehabilitation.
Mendez-Laing’s contract at Bramall Lane is scheduled to expire in January, although Wolves are understood to have indicated that they are happy to discuss extending the ar
rangement should it benefit all three parties involved.
Although he has not started a game since September’s draw at Scunthorpe, Mendez-Laing is viewed by Wilson as an important member of his squad after helping Peterborough gain promotion to the Championship last season.
Having previously expressed concerns about a lack of
pace in attack,
United are expected to try to re-enter the loan market ahead of their meeting with Sheffield Wednesday in eight days.
Wilson has pledged to exercise restraint in the temporary transfer market after acknowledging concerns among supporters about its use in the past.
United recruited 13 players on loan en route to relegation last season with varying degrees of success.
“I can’t comment on what happened before
be cause I wasn’t here and that would be wrong,” Wilson admitted recently.
“But what I will say is that we’ll try to use the loan market properly.
“It can still be a useful took either to bring in people when the situation demands or to bring in people who, for one reason or another, might otherwise be out of reach but who would be an asset.”
Meanwhile, members of United’s 1991 derby-winning team are set to attend a special event at Bramall Lane next month.
Dane Whitehouse, Brian Deane, Carl Bradshaw and other members of the side which beat Wednesday 2-0 in the top-flight match will be present at the function which is designed to raise funds for the Legends of the Lane museum project and United’s ex-player foundation.
Brian Gayle, Paul Beesley, Ian Bryson, Tommy Cowan, John Gannon and John Pemberton should also be there on November 17.
Tickets, priced £25 per head or £199.10 for a table of 10, are available from the box office.