Sheffield United: Blades sweat on stars ahead of City clash

James Wallace in action for Sheffield United � copyright :  BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
James Wallace in action for Sheffield United � copyright : BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Sheffield United have doubts over the availability of five key players, including Stefan Scougall and Jose Baxter, ahead of Saturday’s League One opener against Bristol City, writes James Shield.

Together with Craig Alcock, Bob Harris and James Wallace, the duo missed training at the Redtooth Academy yesterday, forcing manager Nigel Clough to reorganise his preparations for the visit of Steve Cotterill’s side.

Wallace, who has been nursing a niggling groin complaint throughout pre-season, appears almost certain to sit-out the televised contest but Clough said: “James had a groin problem last season and it’s tightened up again. We’re hopeful he doesn’t need anything doing and that he’ll be okay for Mansfield (in the Capital One Cup) on Tuesday.

“We’re happy with the work we’ve done but we’ve lost a few lads at various stages. Physically, it always happens at this time and it’s all throughout football.

“They do all these programmes through the summer but there’s no physical contact. Because they’re fitter now you get into the football quicker and that’s when you get these little issues.”

Clough added: “A few others haven’t trained this week but they should be okay for Saturday. They should join in by Friday we think.”

Wallace, who joined United from Tranmere Rovers this summer, was withdrawn during the first-half of last weekend’s friendly at York City as a precautionary measure.

“That’s when he felt something so we didn’t take the risk,” Clough said. “There was no point or anything to be gained by doing so.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1