Sheffield United: Blades wait on Long verdict

Blades 'keeper George Long
Blades 'keeper George Long
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Sheffield United are hoping they have goalkeeper George Long available for their next league outing.

The prospect of the 20-year-old missing next Saturday’s home game with Gillingham arises because of his inclusion in the England Under-21 squad for two UEFA U-21 qualifiers which are being played either side of that game.

However, the Blades are hopeful that Long may be free for the Gillingham clash and will hold talks with the FA and England U-21 coach Gareth Southgate.

Long is one of three goalkeepers in the squad. Jack Butland, on loan at Barnsley, is expected to start in both matches, the first of which is against Finland at MK Dons on Thursday evening.

The Blades youngster and Watford’s Jonathan Bond are the other goalkeepers, with one of them set to be a matchday substitute.

If that sub duty was to be shared, then United would want Long involved on Thursday which, barring injuries to the others, would then free him up to be released for the Gillingham game.

If Long was to be required for both games, or even just for the one the following Tuesday against San Marino at Shrewsbury, then it would put his Gillingham availability in jeopardy and rule him out of any FA Cup replay with Colchester.

If today’s game is drawn, the replay is likely to be on Tuesday, November 19.

Blades: P42