Sheffield United: Injuries could influence the race for automatic promotion
As Sheffield United nurse Jack O'Connell and Mark Duffy back to fitness, Leeds are facing selection issues of their own as this season's race for automatic promotion from the Championship enters the finishing straight.
Despite reports that his leading goalscorer Keemar Roofe is poised for a return to action, Marcelo Biela, the West Yorkshire club's manager, was yesterday digesting the news that Barry Douglas will miss the rest of the campaign after rupturing a ligament.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender damaged a knee during Saturday's win over Millwall and has been told it will take at least three months to heal.With United losing to Bristol City, that result lifted Bielsa's men to second in the table - two points above Chris Wilder's side - with seven matches remaining.
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After suggesting Roofe will feature after nearly a month out when Leeds visit Birmingham City this weekend, the Argentine had hoped to have a full strength squad at his disposal for the run in. But after being assessed by Elland Road's medical staff, Douglas' diagnosis has wrecked those plans.
United are expected to delay selecting their team for the visit to Preston North End as O’Connell and Duffy continue to undergo treatment. Duffy missed the meeting with Bristol City after reporting “some soreness” in an Achilles during the build-up to the game according to Wilder. O’Connell missed the closing stages of the 3-2 defeat, which saw United slip to third, with a calf muscle issue.