Sheffield United: Fitness boost for flying Blades

Jay McEveley
Jay McEveley
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Nigel Clough is relishing the increasing number of personnel options at his disposal as the Blades go from strength to strength.

If not buoyed enough by a run of seven wins from 11 League One matches was has seen United surge into the top six, Clough is confident his squad will be bolstered for Saturday’s trip to Crewe Alexandra.

Jay McEveley missed the 2-0 win over Yeovil due to a shoulder injury while Paddy McCarthy was rested due to several niggles.

Both are expected to return for the weekend.

“We’ve shown we’ve got some good options in various positions now,” Clough said.

“Having people like Michael Higdon, Ryan Flynn and Jose Baxter coming on against Yeovil shows that.

“It’s very pleasing.

“Paddy had just got a few little niggles, a tight hamstring and such like, so we decided to rest him for Yeovil.

“We’re hopeful him and Jay will be back for Saturday.”

Clough was full of praise for makeshift centre back pairing Harrison McGahey and Chris Basham, who stepped into the breach against Yeovil due to McEveley and McCarthy’s injuries.

He said: “Harrison and Chris have played together there before.

“That was the thinking behind doing it again.

“Harrison had one moment where he nearly let them in but, that apart, the pair of them did well.

“I thought Chris Basham especially led the defensive line superbly.

“He was getting us out, competing for every single ball.

“Yeovil didn’t cause Mark Howard too many problems in terms of things to do.”

Baxter came off the bench for the final 18 minutes with Clough revealing the versatile forward is not fit enough to last a full 90 minutes.

The 22-year-old is nursing a calf issue following his recent hamstring problem and Clough confirmed he would have started against Yeovil had he been fit.

James Wallace is also pushing for a return at Crewe having missed the last two games.

“It just depends on the next 48 hours or so with James but he’s not far away,” Clough said.

“Like the others he could be available for the weekend or he could be out.

“If Jose Baxter had been fit he probably would have played but he’s not quite there.”

Young defender Terry Kennedy continued his rehabilitation from a knee injury by playing the full 90 minutes of the Blades U21s’ 2-0 win over Ipswich at Shirecliffe yesterday.