Sheffield United: Hopes fading over midfielder’s return

Sheffield United are making plans to enter this weekend's game against Preston North End without Mark Duffy, one of their most influential performers, after receiving the latest progress report on his Achilles injury.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 11:56 am
Mark Duffy is in danger of missing the visit to Preston North End: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Duffy was forced to withdraw from United's meeting with Bristol City four days ago after suffering the problem during training and, after being pencilled-in to start the game, his absence was cited as major factor behind their 3-2 defeat by Lee Johnson's side.

Although Chris Wilder expects Jack O'Connell to feature at Deepdale, where United will attempt to climb back into the automatic promotion places with six matches remaining, the United manager is thought to be less hopeful about Duffy's prospects of being declared fit.

Indeed, after discussing the matter with Bramall Lane's medical department, The Star understands Kieran Dowell has been told to prepare himself to face Alex Neil's side.

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The England under-21 midfielder had been set to enjoy a rest when Lee Johnson's side visited South Yorkshire after playing twice for his country during the international break. However, Dowell was thrust into action when Duffy was diagosed with the complaint which threatens to rule him out of the trip to Lancashire.

O'Connell, the United centre-half, limped-out of the loss to City with a tight calf muscle but returned to training on Monday.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder manager: James Wilson/Sportimage
Mark Duffy had been in fine form before his injury: Simon Bellis/Sportimage