Sheffield United boss explains Iliman Ndiaye selection call after injury concern

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Star man Ndiaye started on the bench as Blades lost at Millwall

Iliman Ndiaye started on the bench for Sheffield United’s defeat at Millwall after a thigh injury made him a doubt until the morning of the game, boss Paul Heckingbottom has revealed.

The decision to leave Ndiaye out of the starting XI raised a few eyebrows amongst Blades fans and although the Senegal international did eventually appear just after the hour mark, he couldn’t inspire his side to victory at The Den.

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United instead lost 3-2 after Tom Bradshaw sealed his hat-trick with a close-range finish in the 88th minute, with Heckingbottom also recalling Chris Basham at the expense of Anel Ahmedhodzic and Tommy Doyle starting over James McAtee.

Doyle got United back into it at 1-1 with a first-half free-kick before McAtee came off the bench to level again at 2-2. And asked about his selection calls after the game, Heckingbottom confirmed they were to “freshen up” his side.

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“Iliman has not been training. He was still a doubt until today,” Heckingbottom said. “The medical team were confident this morning that he had taken a knock because we were unsure if it was a thigh strain or a knock.

“He couldn’t remember taking any contact but it presented like he’d taken a knock rather than any strain. After 48 hours it settled down this morning and we were confident he was available.”

On Doyle’s free-kick, which found the corner despite former Blades goalkeeper George Long getting a hand to it, Heckingbottom added: “Tommy can do that all day long but he was another one we had to go after at half-time, about not winning enough first or second balls.

“That was all of us. It’s so frustrating to get ourselves back in the game and then give two goals away,”

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