Sheffield United: Blades let David Edgar answer Canada call

David Edgar
David Edgar
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David Edgar has reported for international duty with Canada, Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins revealed following his team’s FA Cup victory over Worcester City.

Edgar, on loan from Birmingham City, had been expected to feature in the first-round tie but was excused after being selected for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and El Salvador.

Nigel Adkins

Nigel Adkins

The centre-half has not appeared for United since injuring a hamstring at Port Vale last month, although Adkins, speaking after his team beat their non-league opponents 3-0, confirmed Edgar took part in a behind-closed-doors training session before the game.

“David has trained but he’s gone to represent Canada,” Adkins said. “I just made the call.

“He trained in the morning, in the pouring rain, when we put a session group on. He took part in that but he’ll go away now and hopefully get some game-time. “Then, all being well, he can come back and be in a better position to be challenging for a place here with us.”

With Edgar set to miss the forthcoming games against Fleetwood Town and Southend - Benito Floro’s squad face Honduras in Vancouver on Friday before travelling to San Salvador later this month - Adkins’ decision represents a show of faith in young Harrison McGahey, particularly as Chris Basham, who partnered Neill Collins in Edgar’s absence against City, was withdrawn with a groin strain.

McGahey, signed from Blackpool on the eve of last season, has impressed United’s coaching staff with his improvement in recent weeks and replaced Basham during the closing stages of a match which saw Jose Baxter, Conor Sammon and Kieron Freeman score.

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“I don’t want to be losing players ideally but it’s a great honour to represent your country,” Adkins said. “Nobody stands in the way of that and quite rightly so in my book. All being well, David will come through okay and get some good minutes under his belt which, like I say, will ultimately benefit us.”

Adkins, a former physiotherapist, has outlined plans to improve United’s fitness record after inheriting a squad showing signs of wear and tear following a 63 -match campaign under his predecessor, Nigel Clough.

The programme, devised in tandem with fitness and medical staff at the Steelphalt Academy training complex, is designed to ensure “our players are robust enough” to take part in at least 40 fixtures a season.

Matt Done, Bob Harris, Ryan Flynn and Paul Coutts feature among a clutch of key names who saw their preparations for August’s League One opener at Gillingham interrupted by injury while defender John Brayford, a £1.5 million acquisition from Cardiff City, has yet to play since Adkins’ appointment in June.

Coutts, who joined Basham and Che Adams on the treatment table as United dispatched City, is unlikely to travel to Highbury for tomorrow’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy quarter-final against Town.

“The first goal was great,” Adkins said. “Couttsy and Dean Hammond worked the ball forward, knocked it around the corner and Che has gone through before being brought down. Maybe their lad could have been sent off but you don’t want to see that. It was a penalty and nobody had a complaint.”