Sheffield United hope for a ray of light as injury gloom darkens

Sheffield United hope centre-forward Oli McBurnie will be passed fit ahead of their game against Everton on Boxing Day as manager Chris Wilder grapples with yet another selection crisis.

Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 5:01 pm

McBurnie has missed United’s last two matches after damaging a shoulder during the visit to Southampton earlier this month, but was described as being “close” to making his return before Sunday’s draw with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Wilder, who later discovered the Scotland international had failed a fitness test, delivered that prognosis after confirming midfielder Sander Berge had joined Jack O’Connell and Kean Bryan on the treatment table because of a hamstring complaint. With the Norwegian expected to be absent for around three months and John Lundstram, his replacement at the AMEX Stadium, preparing to begin a suspension following his red card during that fixture, United’s coaching staff are hoping McBurnie can ease some of the pressure on their injury depleted squad by declaring himself available for selection over the Christmas and New Year period.

United will enter the meeting with Carlo Ancelotti’s side at the bottom of the Premier League table, having taken only two points from their last 14 outings.

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If McBurnie does not make the progress he expects, Wilder could be forced to accelerate Lys Mousset’s rehabilitation from foot surgery. The Frenchman, whose conditioning levels have frequently been cause for concern since his arrival from AFC Bournemouth last summer, has been eased back into action over the past few weeks after receiving the all-clear from Bramall Lane’s medical department.

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Sander Berge is facing three months on the sidelines: Simon Bellis/Sportimage