Sheffield United: Defender receives international recognition as Chris Wilder hopes for good news on the injury front
Enda Stevens has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for their friendly against Turkey later this month.
The Sheffield United wing-back is one of five first time call-ups selected by Martin O’Neill having impressed for Chris Wilder’s side this term.
Stevens, aged 27, has previously represented his country at under-21 level and joins one-time United target Darragh Lenihan in the 30 man party.
Meanwhile, Leon Clarke will be given “every opportunity” to prove his fitness ahead of United’s visit to Ipswich Town.
But manager Wilder warned it will be impossible to ignore any lingering doubts about the centre-forward’s conditioning because of his importance to the United cause.
Revealing that fellow striker James Wilson is also close to a return after damaging an ankle during last month’s FA Cup tie against Leicester City, Wilder said: “Leon is having a test before we travel. He’s got to come through that.
“It’s an important time of the season obviously. We don’t want him to play one game and then lose him for the next 10. The one things about Leon is that, if he’s ready, you always know he’s going to stick his hand-up to play. James is the same. He was very close the other night.”
United travel to Suffolk ninth in the Championship table; three points behind the play-off positions with a game in hand on sixth-placed Middlesbrough.
Clarke missed Tuesday’s defeat at Fulham to undergo further treatment on a hamstring complaint but hopes to feature at Portman Road this weekend.
“He’s worked extremely hard, Leon, since coming off against Reading,” Wilder said. “All my players have been working hard, they all want to be involved. There’s no picking and choosing games.
“We’ll give him as much time as needed to get himself ready. The same as James. But I’m not going to stick him on the bench if he’s got a big opportunity of missing a chunk of games. Hopefully the two or three days which have passed since our last game will give him that chance.”