Sheffield United: Experienced duo set to bolster push for the play-offs

Two of Sheffield United’s most experienced players are closing in on a return to first team action.

Although manager Paul Heckingbottom elected against predicting when they might become available for selection, he confirmed George Baldock and John Fleck had both taken part in preparations for tomorrow’s match against Luton Town.

Fleck’s last appearance came during United’s win over Fulham on December 20. Baldock has yet to feature since Heckingbottom’s appointment, with his most recent outing coming at Blackburn Rovers six weeks earlier.

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Sheffield United defender George Baldock has rejoined training this week: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“Flecky trained today,” Heckingbottom said. “George trained today as well. So that’s good news.”

“We’re still waiting on Freezy though,” he added, referring to Luke Freeman.

Appointed towards the end of November when Slavisa Jokanovic was sacked, Heckingbottom would welcome the opportunity to call upon the services of Fleck and Baldock as he attempts to ensure United qualify for the play-offs. Aged 30 and 28 respectively, the two men are veterans of United’s promotion from the Championship in 2019 and were key members of the side Heckingbottom’s predecessor Chris Wilder led to ninth in the Premier League a season later.

Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck is also making progress in his battle for fitness: Isaac Parkin / Sportimage

With Oli McBurnie also making progress in his battle for fitness, Heckingbottom hopes the injuries he believes are a symptom of United’s inactivity over the Christmas and New Year period will shortly become a thing of the past.

Forced to rearrange meetings with Queens Park Rangers, Hull City, Middlesbrough and Preston North End because of Covid-19 outbreaks among the opposition squads, the visit of Town will be the first time Bramall Lane has staged a senior fixture for nearly two months.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Simon Bellis/Sportimage