Sheffield United: Midfielder's form grants John Fleck extra-time
John Fleck is continuing to undergo treatment on the hamstring he damaged during last month's victory over Crystal Palace, as Sheffield United refuse to rush the midfielder back from injury.
Although there is a slight chance Fleck could be declared fit for the game against Southampton on September 14, Luke Freeman's form since replacing him in the starting eleven has convinced United's coaching staff not to truncate the 28-year-old's recovery programme.
Indeed, with Freeman excelling alongside Oliver Norwood and John Lundstram, it seems unlikely Fleck will be parachuted straight back into the starting eleven when he is declared available for selection. Instead, despite being a mainstay of their team in recent seasons, Fleck now appears destined to fight for his place.
"John will be given whatever time he needs," Chris Wilder, the United manager, said. "It's important he's right because it's a long old season."
Kean Bryan, the United defender, joined Fleck in the treatment room after Wilder revealed he had "turned an ankle" when his team knocked Blackburn Rovers out of the Carabao Cup last week.
"By and large, for me, our fitness record has been excellent," Wilder said. "We need competition, and the injuries we have picked up have been mostly unavoidable, the things that you always expect to get along the way."