Sheffield Derby: Full strength Blades have answered questions about their staying power
Sheffield United expect to enter Monday's derby against Sheffield Wednesday with a full strength squad at their disposal, manager Chris Wilder has confirmed.
Defenders George Baldock and Jack O'Connell, who signed a new long-term contract earlier this week, have both been declared available for selection after recovering from injury while the calf problem John Egan sustained at West Bromwich Albion last weekend proved less serious than first feared.
"Jack is fit, George is fit and John is fit," Wilder confirmed. "Picking the matchday 18, nevermind the eleven, is going to be tough. There's going to be some very good players not making that."
The return to fitness of Baldock and O'Connell has presented Wilder with a serious of difficult but welcome dilemmas ahead of the visit to Hillsborough. Both missed United's 1-0 win at The Hawthorns, which lifted them to second in the Championship, and the 4-0 demolition of Reading.
With O'Connell also forced to sit out United's clash with Middlesbrough, which saw Wilder's side record another important victory, the 51-year-old insisted recent results make a mockery of suggestions his squad does not possess the staying power to reach the Premier League.
"There were questions about us," he acknowledged. "People were saying what if they lose this player or that player? How will they cope? Well, we have seen players have to drop out and the lads have carried on."
"That shows the importance of the group," Wilder added. "It shows that, if you are going to give yourself a chance of achieving anything, it's often the lads who don't get 40 odd games or so over the course of a season who help you do it."