Sheffield United: Blades face anxious wait to discover the extent of key defender's injury
A controversial defeat and an injury which could rule him out of action when Sheffield United return to action following the international break wasn’t the way George Baldock wanted to celebrate his 150th appearance for the club, with manager Slavisa Jokanovic confirming medical staff have yet to ascertain the exact nature or extent of the problem the defender suffered during Saturday’s match at AFC Bournemouth.
Baldock, who described himself as being “honoured” to reach the landmark on the eve of the fixture, was forced off early in the second-half of a contest decided by what Jokanovic later labelled two “joke” decisions by the match officials.
Although he suspects a damaged hamstring was responsible for curtailing the 28-year-old’s involvement - “That’s what George was complaining of at the time” - Jokanovic told The Star United will only discover the true cause, and be able to draft a recovery programme, when their physiotherapists perform a series of tests later this week.
“He thought it was that, his hamstring, but obviously we are not entirely sure yet so we will have to see,” admitted Jokanovic. “We will know when we get back and are able to take a proper look.”
“How long will he be out for? Not long, we hope of course,” Jokanovic added. “But that is something it is still too soon to make a prediction on. So we will have to wait and find out.”
Chris Basham, who has predominantly been deployed at centre-half by both Jokanovic and his predecessor Chris Wilder, replaced Baldock on United’s right flank before goals from Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing cancelled-out Morgan Gibbs-White’s opener for the visitors. Solanke’s effort came from the penalty spot, although Enda Stevens’ foul on the former Chelsea and Liverpool centre-forward took place outside the box. United’s coaching staff also complained an offside flag should have been raised during the build-up to Billing’s strike.
Although Basham acquitted himself well, Jayden Bogle is likely to be recalled for October 16th’s meeting with Stoke City if Baldock is still receiving treatment. Speaking before the trip to Dorset, Jokanovic confessed to feeling “unhappy” at being forced to omit Bogle from his recent matchday squads in order to shoehorn more attacking players onto United’s roster.
“I was rather Jayden was in,” Jokanovic said. “But it is simply numbers.”