Sheffield United will not risk Caolan Lavery during tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy match against Walsall.
The former Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward had been scheduled to start the Group H tie but was forced to withdraw after straining an ankle ligament last week.
Although manager Chris Wilder insisted Lavery would have been fit enough to play this weekend - only for their League One encounter with Jon Whitney’s team to be postponed - United will use to break to ensure he is fully recovered by the time Port Vale visit Bramall Lane on October 15.
“It’s all about the timing,” Wilder said. “We won’t take any risks with Caolan or anyone else in his situation for that matter. It’s nothing serious but we do want to make sure he’s right.”
Wilder’s softly softly approach towards Lavery - the Northern Ireland international miss pre-season after rejecting a new contract at Hillsborough - stems from concerns about the work load undertaken by Billy Sharp and Matt Done in recent weeks. With fellow striker Leon Clarke also nursing an injury, United were preparing to rest both against Walsall. Wilder is still expected to press ahead with that plan but could be forced to name an inexperienced frontline spearheaded by Steelphalt Academy graduate David Brooks.
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On-loan defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell also misses-out after playing and being sent-off for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the previous round while Harry Chapman is another absentee due to international obligations.
“There are a few lads who would have been involved but who won’t be now,” Wilder said. “Which is a shame but that’s the way it goes at times. You just have to get on with it.
“We always talk about taking opportunities and that what some of those who will be involved have got to look to do. Because, trust me, it does count for a lot; the ability to do that. It’s one of the things every manager or coaching will tell you they want to see people do.”
Walsall lead Group H after opening their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a victory over League Two newcomers Grimsby Town. United are third having drawn with Leicester City under-23’s before missing-out on a bonus point following a penalty shoot-out.
“This is a game of football and we always want to win,” Wilder said. “It’s to be approached in the right manner and prepared for in the right manner too. That’s what we are expecting to see.”