Sheffield United: Selection hopes dealt a blow as defender tests positive for Covid-19 ahead of Preston North End clash

Ben Davies has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of tomorrow’s match against his former club Preston North End.

Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:20 pm

The Sheffield United defender, on loan from Liverpool, moved to Anfield 12 months ago following eight years at Deepdale.

Despite not making a first team appearance for Paul Heckingbottom’s side since the beginning of December because of personal and fitness issues, Davies was thought to be close to a return before this latest set-back.

“Ben is another one who has tested positive for Covid,” said Heckingbottom, who missed Saturday’s visit to Derby County after also contracting the coronavirus. “This is how quickly it can change. This is what everyone is dealing with - it can change at the drop of a hat.”

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“Ben was back in and now he’s out again, clearly,” the United manager added. “So that’s a real disappointment. It is what it is. We just have to get on with it.”

Heckingbottom is set to make his return to the dug-out at Preston, where he is demanding United produce a “much improved” performance following a 2-0 defeat at Pride Park.

Forced to watch the match unfold via videolink, the former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian chief said: “It was my worst experience, not being there in person, as a manager and yes, you do feel a bit helpless,” he said. “But that was my problem. I’ve been in the stands before, when you are sent off or suspended and I’ve been up in Scotland where sometimes, in those situations, you aren’t allowed in the dressing room before or afterwards. But this was different. I didn’t enjoy it one bit, for a whole host of reasons.”

Sheffield United defender Ben Davies has tested positive for Covid-19: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Ben Davies joined Liverpool from Preston North End, Sheffield United's next opponents: Simon Bellis / Sportimage