Sheffield United: Blades refused to risk defender’s well-being

Neill Collins in action for Sheffield United � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Neill Collins in action for Sheffield United � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Neill Collins is expected to be assessed by Sheffield United’s medical staff before a decision is taken on whether he faces Colchester this weekend, writes James Shield.

The centre-half failed to reappear for the second-half of Saturday’s League One fixture at Shrewsbury Town after sustaining a head injury which required treatment during the interval.

United manager Nigel Clough, whose side visit the Weston Homes Community Stadium in the first round of the FA Cup, revealed: “Neill had a lump like a golf ball right above his eye. We tried to drain it but that proved impossible so he couldn’t carry on.

“It would have been unsafe to let him do so. It would have been wrong to have taken that kind of risk so we reorganised instead.”

With Collins deemed unfit to continue, Matt Hill, who had started the 2-0 defeat at left-back, moved across to partner Harry Maguire while Aidy White reverted to a more defensive role after initially being deployed in attack.

Clough, who declared himself “impressed” with White’s debut performance following a loan move from Leeds, added: “We had the options there to do that (reshuffle) so we put them into effect.

“There are certain things you might be tempted to take a risk with but that (Collins’ injury) isn’t one of them. The bump came up very quickly.”

Clough’s decision to withdraw Collins came 24 hours before brain injury charity Headway branded his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Andre Villas-Boas “irresponsible” for adopting a “cavalier attitude” to Hugo Lloris’ health after the goalkeeper completed Sunday’s Premier League fixture against Everton despite briefly losing consciousness after a collision with Romelu Lukaku.

Collins, however, would have been allowed to continue had doctors managed to reduce the swelling on his forehead.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1