Sheffield United: Oliver Norwood’s participation against Sheffield Wednesday is thrown into doubt
Oliver Norwood is unlikely to be withdrawn from the firing line at West Bromwich Albion next weekend despite teetering on the brink of a suspension which would rule him out of the derby against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Northern Ireland international collected his 11th caution of the season, and ninth in Championship competition, during Sheffield United's victory over Reading.
If he is selected to face Darren Moore's side, and collects another yellow card, then he will miss both the visit to Hillsborough and March 4 and United's home game against Rotherham.
"Olly has just got the get on with it," manager Chris Wilder said, after his team's 4-0 win lifted them to second in the Championship table. "We spoke at half-time about bringing him off but he's got to be sensible with his challenges.
“He can do that."
Although Wilder and his staff are clearly considering the possibility of resting Norwood against Darren Moore's side, thus ensuring his availability against Wednesday, they must also take into account a fixture schedule which also pits them against third placed Leeds and a resurgent Bristol City before reaching a decision. Even if Norwood is omitted from the starting eleven at West Brom, a booking at Wednesday would force him to sit-out meetings with Paul Warne's men and Brentford.
Should Norwood be cautioned in either of those fixtures, he would be ineligible for selection when United face Leeds at Elland Road. Given the delicate situation he finds himself in, Wilder used the closing stages of Saturday's match to give Paul Coutts a taste of first team action.
The Scot, a mainstay in United's line-up until suffering a broken leg midway through last term, is the most obvious choice to deputise in Norwood's absence.
"That was important," Wilder, referring to Coutts' introduction during the closing stages, said. "It would good to bring Couttsy on, to give him some minutes.
"There were lots of positives we could take from the game, lots of good things. But obviously Olly picking a booking up is a concern."