Sheffield United transfer priorities set to change as injury strikes Blades once again

Blades boss may be forced to tailor final-week transfer plans after latest muscle injury
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Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom may be forced to alter his plans for the final few days of the transfer window after the club’s latest injury blow at the weekend. Ben Osborn limped off against Manchester City on Sunday, with media reports suggesting the injury is worse than United first feared.

With Max Lowe and Rhys Norrington-Davies also sidelined through injury, Osborn was preferred at left wing-back to Yasser Larouci against the treble winners but went down for treatment after around 15 minutes and couldn’t continue. Larouci was culpable for City’s winner, failing to deal with the ball and allowing Kyle Walker to cross for Rodri to smash home, and as things stand is United’s only fit and available senior left-back.

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Depending on the severity of the issues for Osborn and Lowe, who damaged an ankle in pre-season in a freak accident with a sprinkler at Derby County and could go under the knife to correct the problem, Heckingbottom may be forced to alter his plans in the transfer market ahead of Friday’s 11pm deadline.

The United boss was focusing on offensive reinforcements, with Facundo Pellistri and James McAtee - of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively - two targets. United have both their domestic loan slots available and are also scouring the overseas market for temporary additions. McAtee’s City teammate Tommy Doyle, who spent last season alongside McAtee on loan at United, is another player of interest, with Heckingbottom staying in touch with the player and his representatives over the summer.

As well as a wide attacker in the mould of McAtee and Pellistri, Heckingbottom may have been tempted to add another central striker to his wishlist after it was revealed that Daniel Jebbison is out with an illness. Youngsters Will Osula and Benie Traore have carried United’s forward hopes in the first three games of the season but with Oli McBurnie returning from injury, and Cameron Archer in the building after his move from Aston Villa, more problematic positions elsewhere could be prioritised.

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John Egan is another key player without ready-made cover and competition and in his absence, Anel Ahmedhodzic and Chris Basham would likely cover. The club skipper is a player who rarely struggles for fitness, although Heckingbottom will be crossing his fingers that the Republic of Ireland defender returns from international duty next month with a clean bill of health.