Sheffield United hope to welcome back Scotland star John Fleck when they face Leicester City in key Premier League clash

John Fleck must complete a rigorous series of checks and fitness tests before being considered for selection against Leicester City, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has admitted, after revealing the midfielder has made significant progress in his battle to overcome injury.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 5:00 pm

Fleck had not been expected to return until Monday’s meeting with Everton - United’s penultimate match of the Premier League season - after missing their last four outings, including the wins over Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea.

Although the Scotland international has been one of the most influential performers at Bramall Lane in recent years, helping the club climb out of League One and onto the cusp of European qualification since leaving Coventry City in 2016, Ben Osborn’s rise to prominence means United can afford to tread carefully with Fleck’s fitness.

“I’ve had a word with the physio,” Wilder said, as United resumed training ahead of Thursday’s visit to the King Power Stadium. “We’re hopefully John will be involved.

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“He’s got a couple of clearance sessions to do and other fitness stuff. John will go through those and then we’ll see.”

In normal circumstances, with United preparing for the match ranked seventh in the table and knowing a win will lift them to within two points of Brendan Rodgers’ fourth-placed side, Fleck could expect to be parachuted straight back into the starting eleven after receiving the all-clear. But Osborn’s form over the past fortnight - he was one of the stand-out players on the pitch during the defeat of Chelsea - has presented Wilder with a welcome selection issue as Fleck’s rehabilitation approaches completion. With Jack Robinson also impressing after deputising for Jack O’Connell when competition resumed last month following the Covid-19 pandemic, Wilder also elected not to immediately recall the former Brentford defender when he received the all-clear ahead of the draw at Burnley.

With Wilder insisting “everyone's in good nick”, it also appears Chris Basham has shaken-off the knock which curtailed his involvement against Frank Lampard’s men.

“The team’s had two days off, so I’ve not seen them,” Wilder said last night. “But they’re good and looking forward to getting out there again.”

John Fleck could face Leicester City when Sheffield United return to Premier League action this week: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Ben Osborn of Sheffield United and Reece James of Chelsea challenge for the ball during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images