Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has expressed sympathy for James Wallace’s predicament after confirming the midfielder suffered a fresh injury blow at the Redtooth Academy earlier this week.
The former Tranmere Rovers captain was withdrawn during Monday’s Professional Development League fixture with Coventry City after sustaining an as yet unspecified problem towards the end of the game.
Wallace has been hampered by fitness problems since joining United last year but Clough, who admitted they could take a “mental toll” on the 23-year-old, dismissed claims they form part of a worrying trend after the player suffered similar issues at his previous club.
“Believe me, it’s just down to bad luck,” Clough told The Star. “Nothing more and nothing less but it just seems that, in James’ case, he’s having a lifetime’s worth all at once.
“We’ve had him checked out by all the right medical people and they’ve assured us that none of these things are linked. Of course, to begin with, we thought it might all be traceable back to the knee injury James had before coming here but it’s not.”
Wallace spent nearly 12 months in the treatment room at Prenton Park after damaging ligaments during an FA Cup tie against Chesterfield in December 2012 but Clough added: “It’s difficult not to feel sorry for James because, even though this latest knock doesn’t seem to be anything too serious, it’s just one thing after another for the lad at the moment.
“Physically, like I say, there’s nothing wrong other than the luck he’s having. You often get little niggles after being out for a while which is what’s happening to James at the moment.
“But naturally it’s going to test him psychologically and, mentally, I can completely understand if it gets him down a bit because he’s worked so hard. We’ll be there for him to keep his spirits up and the same goes for all the rest of the lads here.”