Leon Clarke will be out of action for around a month after a scan revealed the extent of the ankle injury which has been troubling him in recent weeks.
Speaking after Saturday’s draw with Scunthorpe, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder confirmed the centre-forward is undergoing treatment for a chipped bone and is expected to be unavailable for the next four weeks.
“Leon’s had two tests before but they didn’t show anything,” he said. “The third one, though, showed that the problem was. It’s a shame because I think he would have been a really big player, a really important player, for us out there.”
Clarke, who joined United from Bury during the close season, joins Jake Wright and James Wilson on the casualty list ahead of tomorrow’s game against Bristol Rovers.
“Leon has been volunteering to play,” Wilder continued. “So that shows the type of attitude he’s got. But you could just see he wasn’t moving right, he wasn’t doing himself justice.
“It’s a shame because, it goes without saying, he’s a real asset. But it’s best that he takes a bit of time to get properly fit. It’s better for him and us.”
With Wright and Wilson both doubts for Rovers’ visit - “Jake hadn’t trained all week because of a knock although we hoped he might be okay”- Wilder could hand new signing Reece Brown his debut. Chris Basham, who had deputised for Wright at centre-half at Scunthorpe, faces a three match suspension after being controversially sent-off by referee Darren Deadman.
“There are a few options we’ve got if that scenario materialises,” Wilder said. “One of them is Reece because he can slot in there.”