John Fleck: Sheffield United players were left shaken by their pal's collapse, says Slavisa Jokanovic
Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic described John Fleck as a “strong” character after the midfielder collapsed during last night’s game against Reading, confirming early reports about his condition appear to be positive.
Although United would not be drawn on the exact nature of the problem which saw Fleck require urgent medical treatment on the pitch, a visibly shaken Jokanovic told journalists that initial updates from the hospital where the 30-year-old was taken were encouraging.
Conceding that it had been difficult for United’s players to continue with the game following the worrying incident - they refused to celebrate after the final whistle despite winning 1-0 - Jokanovic said: “It is not an easy situation for anybody but John is a strong man. It wasn’t easy for the players to go on, of course because they were worried. We all were.
“I prefer not to talk about it too much, because this is not my area of expertise and I don’t want to make any mistakes. But he is in good hands and we expect and we hope that everything is going to be fine.”
A number of Fleck’s team mates, including goalkeeper Wes Foderingham and defender John Egan, urged paramedics onto the playing surface after becoming aware of their colleague’s predicament. With refereeing Andy Davies immediately calling a halt to proceedings, Fleck could be seen wearing an oxygen mask before being helped onto a stretcher.
Acknowledging there “seemed to be no physical contact around him”, Jokanovic continued: John is conscious and he is talking with the doctors and he is in good hands. We hope everything is going to be okay.
“I am not a doctor but the news is positive. I repeat, he is conscious and is in the best possible hands - very safe hands.”
Jayden Bogle had earlier scored the only goal of the contest at the beginning of the second period, as United ended a run of four matches without a win. The result lifts them to 16th in the Championship table ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Bristol City.
“It is true, we needed the points,” Jokanovic said. “We were comfortable in possession but didn’t create much in the first-half. But Reading made a good defensive job and then we tried to be much more comfortable.”