SHEFFIELD United were last night dealt a huge setback in their battle for Championship survival when Nick Montgomery was ruled out for up to six weeks with a knee injury.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s home fixture against Reading, assistant manager Alan Cork revealed the midfielder pushed himself through the pain barrier despite sustaining the damage midway through Saturday’s draw with Millwall.
Cork said: “He wouldn’t come off. He felt it go in the second half but, bless him, was determined to carry on because he cares so much about this place. That’s why the fans love Monty here.
“It’s because of the attitude he’s got, because he’s willing to give absolutely everything for the cause.
“He’s our captain and what you see is what you get from Monty every single week.”
Cork added: “We know that Monty has done his cartilage. But there’s a suggestion that he might have done something to his ligaments too.
“But we can’t say for certain at this stage. We’re going to have to wait until the specialists have a look and then give us their report.”
Montgomery’s plight means Lee Williamson is likely to earn an instant recall after serving a one-match ban. Richard Cresswell expects to be handed the armband if he starts but goalkeeper Richard Wright again misses out after suffering a setback in his fight to overcome a muscle complaint.
“It’s his knee now,” Cork confirmed. “It flared up so there’s work to do there.
“We’re not sure who’s going to be skipper. It’s not something we’ve really thought or talked too much about yet.”
Instead Cork, who revealed long-term absentee Darius Henderson yesterday “started running in straight lines”, said discussions had focused purely on combating Reading’s attacking threat.
“They’ve got very pacy wingers and the boy [Shane] Long can score goals,” he said. “So if we get done on the break going forward then that’s going to be very disappointing.”
United, who are 22nd in the table, moved to within three points of safety despite conceding a late equaliser against Kenny Jackett’s side. Reading travelled north yesterday in 12th after being beaten by Norwich City on Saturday.