Sheffield United: Coaching staff have drawn-up plans to help them cope with any late selection issues as players begin returning from international dutyÂ

With John Egan and Enda Stevens not scheduled to report back from international duty until later today, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder faces the unenviable prospect of not being able to begin finalising his starting eleven for this weekend's visit to Bristol City until 24 hours before the game.

Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 13:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 13:17 pm

United travel to the south-west third in the table and having won each of their last four league outings, scoring 11 goals in the process.

But with the Republic of Ireland understood to be travelling back from their friendly with Poland later this morning, plans have been made for defenders Egan and Stevens to undergo last minute fitness assessments on the eve of the fixture.

Although neither has been subjected to particularly arduous workloads by Martin O'Neill - Stevens appeared as a second-half substitute during Ireland's meeting with Wales before, alongside Egan, starting the 1-1 draw with Poland - United's coaching staff are keen to guard against exacerbating any aches and pains they might have suffered whilst on international duty.

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There were suggestions that Stevens had complained of a foot problem during the warm-up in Wrocław but the wing-back went on to complete the fixture.

With seven members of his squad called-up by the respective countries earlier this month, Wilder said: "Fingers crossed all of them come back okay. We'll do what people expect, check them over and see how they are before a decision on their involvement is made."

Ben Woodburn returned to South Yorkshire earlier this week following Wales' outing in Denmark while Dean Henderson, who has been on duty with England under-21's, is also scheduled to report back for duty tomorrow after European Championship qualifiers against Holland and Latvia. Both are expected to be available for selection at Ashton Gate while Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood and Conor Washington were also set to board flights from Belfast immediately after the meeting with Israel.

Enda Stevens started last night's match in Poland

Despite the complications caused to United's preparations, Wilder remains convinced United will benefit from their players' involvement at the highest level of football.

"It's good for them and the club in terms of prestige," he said. "They improve and so, without stating the obvious, we do as well."