FIRST choice shot-stopper Steve Simonsen has rejected claims it would be a “gamble” to throw Darius Henderson straight back into Sheffield United’s fight for Championship survival.
Following a lengthy lay-off, Henderson spearheaded the attack for the first time in 11 months at Watford.
But the talismanic striker’s comeback turned into a nightmare, as he was given his marching orders after less than half an hour at Vicarage Road after two bookable offences.
Having served his one-match suspension against Leeds United, Henderson is available for selection again and manager Micky Adams is pondering whether to recall the tall forward to the starting line-up at league leaders Queens Park Rangers on Monday.
Simonsen, who kept his first clean sheet in two months versus Leeds, is backing Henderson to play a prominent role in United’s bid to get out of trouble.
He told The Star: “Darius has trained flat out for the last three weeks so I don’t think it would be a gamble playing him.
“He is not going to be match fit but the only way he can get that is out on the field.
“Darius has worked his socks off in training. He has been doing extra shooting sessions so he is raring to go. He looks sharp so that can only benefit us in the final eight matches.”
Simonsen believes Henderson aerial presence gives United an added dimension in the final third.
“We have missed his power and strength and ability to score goals,” conceded Simonsen. “It is great for us Darius is back now and hopefully he will stay fit and make a big difference.”
Adams will have to make a minimum of one alteration when United travel to the capital for their Sky-televised showdown with QPR after choosing not to extend Sam Vokes’ loan.