Sheffield United: Chris Wilder provides a clue about how his team can prosper despite losing three key players

Billy Sharp and Chris Basham have been ruled-out of Sheffield United's forthcoming games against Nottingham Forest and Hull City with hamstring injuries.

By James Shield
Wednesday, 17 April, 2019, 13:10
Chris Basham will miss the games against Nottingham Forest and Hull City: James Wilson/Sportimage

Chris Wilder, the United manager, confirmed both players will miss the Bank Holiday fixtures after being assessed by medical staff at Bramall Lane earlier this week.

Sharp, Wilder's captain and leading goalscorer, limped-off during the second-half of last weekend's draw with Millwall while Basham was withdrawn with a similar complaint before the interval.

Billy Sharp also has a hamstring problem: James Wilson/Sportimage

"They won't be involved for this one or on Monday," Wilder, whose side face Forest at Bramall Lane on Friday, said. "Short-term, they're out. Then we'll see where they are after that."

Three points behind second-placed Leeds with four matches of the season remaining, the loss of Sharp and one of his most influential defenders could not have come at a more inopportune moment for Wilder and his team. But, as the 51-year-old reminded earlier today, United have overcome similar difficulties in the past.

Basham and Jack O'Connell were forced to sit out February's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough while Martin Cranie, deputising for the latter, performed a crucial role during United's victory at West Bromwich Albion 10 days later.

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With John Egan suspended for Forest's visit - the Republic of Ireland international will return from suspension at the KCOM Stadium - Wilder is expected to select Cranie and Richard Stearman for the meeting with Martin O’Neil’s squad. However, he did admit that coaching staff are contemplating a change of formation too.

Martin Cranie is poised to start against Nottingham Forest: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Although Sharp has scored 24 goals in 40 appearances so far this term, those tactical discussions underline the importance of Basham to United's preferred 3-5-2 system, which demands he and his fellow centre-half O'Connell also provide support in attack. 

"We've got lads who can come in," Wilder, whose team is third, added. "We've been here before and come through because the lads go all in."

Richard Stearman could replace John Egan: James Wilson/Sportimage