Sheffield United: George Baldock set for fitness test as Blades boss bemoans the loss of his two specialists

George Baldock could return to action against Millwall this afternoon: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
George Baldock could return to action against Millwall this afternoon: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United will give George Baldock every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of today’s game against Millwall after Chris Wilder, the visitors’ manager, acknowledged the loss of two specialist wing-backs has upset the balance of their team.

With fellow defender Kieron Freeman already ruled-out with a dislocated knee, centre-half Chris Basham has been deployed on the right-hand side of United’s rearguard in recent weeks as Baldock recovers from a hamstring injury.

“The loss of Kieran and George in that position has been tough,” Wilder said. “Bash doesn’t play that position naturally, he will give it a go and we are grateful of that.

“To get two players in the same specialist position out at the same time is disappointing.”

Baldock trained with United’s squad at the Steelphalt Academy yesterday and coaching staff are scheduled to assess the 24-year-old again this morning.

Wilder’s side travelled to The Den ranked third in the Championship table, despite being held to a draw by Birmingham City last weekend although the result of last night’s game between Leeds and Aston Villa at Elland Road meant they could have slipped to fourth this morning.

Describing the importance of wing-backs in his preferred 3-5-2 system, Wilder said: “If you look at Enda Stevens position during a game, his heat map, it isn’t just defending the back stick, then get to the opposition’s back stick. Look at how Kieran played last year, the goal against Millwall, he’s on the left side of the box curling one into the far corner. That’s our right wing-back.”