Rhys Norrington-Davies hits welcome Sheffield United fitness milestone after 13 months out

Sheffield United defender Rhys Norrington-Davies has been out for more than 13 months
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Sheffield United defender Rhys Norrington-Davies has hit a significant milestone in his bid for fitness after more than 13 months out with a serious hamstring injury. The left-back has not played since suffering the damage away at Coventry in October last year.

The injury wrecked his dream of representing Wales at that winter's World Cup, and also kept him out of the run-in of United's promotion campaign. He is one of a number of players whose Blades contracts are set to expire next summer, with fears amongst some sections of supporters that he may not return.

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Allaying those concerns, boss Paul Heckingbottom confirmed today that the defender has joined in some training with his teammates; a major milestone in his long fitness journey. "Rhys has done some bits with us now, which is good," the United manager said. "But wel'l be really patient with him. Day by day we'll gradually increase what he does.

"He's on his own programme as such, and using us to get what he needs. But what he needs now is football, and the stressing and testing of training, which is what he's getting. So that's good news."

United suffered no fresh injury concerns from last weekend's home defeat to Bournemouth but goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, whose mistake led to the Cherries' key second goal but who recovered to make some fine saves in the second half, was ill in the earlier part of the week. "But he's trained today," said Heckingbottom.

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Oli McBurnie and Anel Ahmedhodzic have benefitted from an extra week's training after making their returns from injury at half-time against Bournemouth last weekend. "But you can see they've been out for six or seven weeks," Heckingbottom said. "They've had another week's training and the game, which is good. So they're in a much better place than they were a week ago. One or two are carrying little bits and pieces but everyone was out there training today."

On McBurnie, Heckingbottom added: "He's been better this week, much better. He's another one, while he's been out your fitness suffers but he wants to play and we have to manage that in the week as well. To make sure we're looking after him and taking care of those little problems he has got."

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