Speaking as his Sheffield United side began finalising its preparations for tomorrow’s FA Cup tie at Molineux, Heckingbottom was asked by The Star if news that Gibbs-White’s parent club would now be overseeing the midfielder’s recovery means the on-loan midfielder is set for a prolonged absence.
Although the United manager acknowledged Gibbs-White’s return is not imminent, he explained: “In terms of time out, Morgan had to go in a brace initially. That meant he was struggling to drive and I don’t think the insurance companies - or anyone else for that matter - are too keen on people doing that.
“So it was a case of him having to get in a car and come here or basing himself there, at home. That seemed to be a lot more sensible. Between us, Wolves and Morgan, we were all of the same opinion - that while he was in the brace and doing low tempo work that it was better for him to be there than here.”
Gibbs-White has been United’s most influential player since arriving at Bramall Lane towards the end of the summer transfer window, scoring five goals in 16 Championship appearances and creating another four. However he failed to complete United’s win over Fulham last month and appears set to miss the crucial January period, as they attempt to build on the progress they have made since beating Reading during Slavisa Jokanovic’s final match in charge. United travel to the Midlands with a 100 per cent record since then, winning all three of their outings under Heckingbottom.
“I spoke with him (Gibbs-White) yesterday,” Heckingbottom said. “We speak on a regular basis and he’s in constant touch with the other lads here and the medical people. He’s coming along nicely and that’s good.”
Heckingbottom admitted United will be without 11 players who might otherwise have featured against Wolves due to fitness and Covid-19 issues. However, the contest appears certain to go ahead as neither team wants to further complicate a schedule already wrecked by postponements over the Christmas and New Year period.