SHEFFIELD United will be without Richard Cresswell and Stephen Quinn for Saturday’s home game with Hartlepool after the pair picked up one match bans.
Both were handed their fifth bookings of the season in Tuesday’s win over Notts County which means they sit out the second of Bramall Lane’s Christmas matches which has a 1pm kick off.
With Lee Williamson - banned on Tuesday - set to step back in Quinn’s place, it opens up the prospect of James Beattie getting a call to replace Cresswell.
That would depend on whether Beattie is considered fully primed and ready to start a game. He had just a few minutes at the end of the Notts County game when he received a rapturous welcome from the Lane crowd.
Boss Danny Wilson said after the game that Beattie could have a big impact in United’s League One campaign but also said he still had a way to go.
“James has still got a lot of work to do to get to where both he and ourselves as a club would like him to be,” said Wilson.
Beattie will be aiming to convince Wilson over the next couple of days that he is ready to be pitched back in. Blades followers will be eager to see that but the United boss will want to be absolutely certain that he is 100 per cent ready.
Meanwhile, Wilson refused to stoke the city’s footballing fires despite his team overtaking their arch-rivals from Hillsborough to go second after their seventh straight win, five in the league.
“It’s not something I’m particularly bothered about because there’s still a long, long way to go,” he said. “But, of course, I recognise our fans will enjoy it, so that pleases me.
“We want to finish in the top two at the end of the season though and all I’m really interested in is keeping our own house in order.”
Hartlepool yesterday put former boss Neale Cooper in charge for a second time. He left previously in 2005.
n Beattie back on ball: p43