Big injury boost for Sheffield United as defender returns in 4-0 Burnley hammering
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Promotion-winner Enda Stevens gave Sheffield United an injury boost for the crucial final part of the season after making his return from injury for the Blades’ U21s yesterday.
The Republic of Ireland international has not played since early January after picking up a muscle injury in training, joining fellow wing-back Rhys Norrington-Davies in the treatment room.
With Ben Osborn also sidelined, that has left Max Lowe as the Blades’ only senior and recognised left wing-back but boss Paul Heckingbottom may soon have a welcome selection headache for the final straight of his side’s promotion tilt, after the experienced Stevens played 45 minutes as planned in a 4-0 rout of Burnley at Bramall Lane.
Burnley had six first-team players in their starting XI but Will Osula’s brace, and goals from Kyron Gordon and Louie Marsh, saw United move a step closer to sealing a third consecutive Professional Development League North title.
“I think that’s as good as we’ve been all season,” said boss Michael Collins. “These are the games we want, we want ideally teams to go strong against us where they can.
“That’s not always the case but it’s dropped well for us and they’ve thrown a few senior players in. They’re the tests we want, and credit to the lads. I thought they were outstanding.”
Stevens’ return will represent a real boost for Heckingbottom as United look to get over the line in the promotion race. They go into April 1’s trip to Norwich City three points clear of third-placed Middlesbrough, with a game in hand over their nearest challengers.
Blades: Dewhurst, Sachdev, Stevens (Buyabu 46), Gordon, Barratt, Freckleton, Arblaster (L. Williams 76), Marsh, Osula (Smith 70), Hackford, Peck. Unused: Faxon, Havenhand.