Sheffield United: Mick McCarthy might just have come up trumps for The Blades again
Reading between the lines, given his admission that Mick McCarthy was always planning to reshuffle his Republic of Ireland team, you began to suspect why Chris Wilder did not seem overly concerned by reports David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson could miss Saturday's game against Southampton when he was questioned on their fitness issues this morning.
There are injuries. And there are 'international' injuries. The ones which miraculously disappear when players return from their respective countries and report back to their clubs. McGoldrick and Robinson, who missed Tuesday's friendly at the Aviva Stadium against Bulgaria, appear to be suffering from the latter. At least that is the impression Sheffield United's manager gave in response to journalists' queries about their conditions.
"There was a couple of issues," Wilder said. " A couple of the Irish lads came back early, but Mick was going to change the team. That gives them the best possible chance of being fit for this weekend. They've been back here with us and trying to get ready. We'll see how they are."
After taking part in last week's Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland, Robinson and McGoldrick were granted permission to fly back to South Yorkshire for treatment on hamstring and shoulder complaints. Their United colleagues Enda Stevens and John Egan remained in Dublin, with the latter handed the captain's armband for the meeting with Krasimir Balakov's side. Although McGoldrick - who scored against the Swiss - and Robinson could well be in danger of sitting out the visit of Southampton, it would be no surprise if McCarthy had done Wilder a favour given the excellent relationship they enjoy. Indeed, after managing McGoldrick at Ipswich Town, McCarthy encouraged him to join United when he left Portman Road last summer.
If McGoldrick and Robinson are available, Wilder must decide whether to reshuffle his attacking options or retain the same frontline which held Chelsea to a draw a fortnight ago. After starting in the capital, Robinson's goal laid the foundations for a comeback completed when substitute Lys Mousset pounced during the closing stages. The result, after Tammy Abraham had fired the hosts into a 2-0 lead, means United have prepared for their latest outing ranked 10th in the table. Ralph Hasenhüttl's men are 13th, but only a point behind following their draw with Manchester United.
"It was brilliant for Didzy," Wilder said, referring to McGoldrick's finish. "I know how much Mick thinks of him, just as much as we do. They (the strikers) all want to score and we expect them to score. They've got a proven track record of scoring."
"We've got all sorts of different forwards, different types," he added. "Lys has given us a taste of what he can do. We've got a really good group. I feel it's the one area where we possibly will mix it up. But goals breed confidence."
Scotland's Oli McBurnie and Muhamed Bešić of Bosnia and Herzegovina are both understood to have rejoined United in rude health after winning their latest international caps.