Caolan Lavery is on course to be passed fit for the start of the new Championship season after beginning pre-season training with the rest of Chris Wilder’s squad.
The centre-forward reported for duty at the Steelphalt Academy earlier this week having recovered from the injury which forced him to miss the club’s final seven games last term.
Wilder, the United manager, said: “Caolan is back. He’s ready to be involved and he’s worked hard. That’s great.”
Lavery, aged 24, scored six goals in only eight starts for United after arriving from Sheffield Wednesday in May. Despite predominately being used as an impact player during his team’s march to the League One title, Wilder privately expects the former Northern Ireland under-21 international to emerge as a key figure in Bramall Lane’s first team squad over the next 12 months.
Although Lavery, who underwent a minor operation after damaging knee ligament during United’s draw with Oldham Athletic in March, is taking part in all of their pre-season sessions, Wilder acknowledged some members of his squad have been handed less gruelling schedules.
“There’s possibly one or two who need a bit of work with the physios before they step out,” he said. “But we’re not talking about two or three weeks, we’re talking about three or four days. We don’t want them being pushed until they are ready and then ending up out of the side.”
“They’ve all come back in good shape and have worked hard,” Wilder added. “Some have to work a bit harder over the next few days but they’re up for it. And why wouldn’t they be? I think we should be looking at it, the games we’ll be involved in and the places we’ll be going, the same as the supporters. We’re going into a tough division and we might get done a few times. So we’ll stick together and make sure we have our days too.”
Meanwhile, United’s visit to Burton Albion next season has been brought forward to Friday 17 November (kick-off 7.45pm). Their trip to Brentford, which had been scheduled to take place on March 31, is now scheduled for Good Friday.