Sheffield United: Blades hope to avoid the loss of another key player
John Lundstram will enter Sunday’s visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers one caution away from suspension.
The Sheffield United midfielder collected his fourth yellow card of the season last weekend, as Chris Wilder’s side drew 3-3 with their namesakes from Manchester.
Premier League rules state that any player booked five times before match week 19 must serve an automatic one game ban. That means Lundstram must also negotiate safe passage through United’s next six fixtures, which include meetings with fellow newly promoted sides Norwich City and Aston Villa, to avoid being sanctioned.
Wilder, however, will resist the temptation to ask Lundstram to temper his competitive instincts.
“It’s not something I mention,” he said, when the subject of disciplinary records was raised recently. “Players aren’t daft. They know what situations they’re in and how to handle themselves.”
“Especially now, if you want to engage physically which we do, then I think it’s inevitable that you’re going to pick them (yellow cards) up,” the United manager added. “You just don’t want stupid ones. They’re the ones that frustrate you.”
Lundstram, aged 25, has been an ever-present for United in the PL this term; emerging as one of the most influential members of a squad which, despite only climbing out of the Championship earlier this year, travels to the Black Country ranked sixth in the table.
Previously of Oxford and Everton, Lundstram received his first caution of the campaign against Crystal Palace in August. The one he was awarded against Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s team, for a deliberate foul on Jesse Lingard, ended a run of four outings without censure; his joint-longest of the campaign.
Lundstram’s colleague John Fleck will face Wolves hoping to avoid his fourth booking since August, together with George Baldock.
“You won’t hear me complain about injuries or suspensions,” Wilder, who could welcome back both Dean Henderson and John Egan at Molineux, said. “They come with the territory. It’s what you put together squads for.”