SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades expect Neill Collins to be back

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SHEFFIELD United expect key defender Neill Collins to be back in action in time for the home game with Oldham Athletic next Saturday.

The central defender was a surprise absentee when the teams were announced at Brisbane Road on Saturday but United expected him to be missing and had kept quiet in the lead up to the game.

Collins had been in hospital for a toe infection and been on antibiotics and there was never a chance of him playing at Orient.

He had bravely battled through last Tuesday’s win at Hartlepool and clearly had a nasty problem afterwards and subsequently needed hospital treatment to help clear it up.

Manager Danny Wilson - who switched Matt Hill to centre defence and brought in Marcus Williams at left back - expects Collins to be able to resume training this week and would therefore be available to reclaim his place at the heart of the defence.

Also missing was John Cofie, who picked up a groin injury late last week.

The pressing issue for the Blades boss concerns the recruitment of a goalkeeper and Wilson and his staff have been working on that one since Saturday when No 1 Mark Howard pulled a thigh muscle early on at Leyton Orient, an injury that could sideline him for a month.

The ‘keeper told his boss that he felt something ‘pop’ when he was taking a goal kick. His replacement, 18-year-old George Long, did well when pitched in but Wilson is likely to have looked extensively at the options available with someone of greater experience sure to be high on his agenda.

He will also probably have been contacted by a number of goalkeepers who are not attached to clubs.

United’s Under-21 development squad play Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough tonight (7pm).