Sheffield United: Injured striker Oli McBurnie is placed on notice
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Paul Heckingbottom, the Championship club’s manager, revealed McBurnie has been struggling with the complaint “for some time” following Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Blackpool, which saw his team surrender its place at the top of the table.
But the centre-forward, who started the match on the bench, is not expected to miss any games before undergoing the operation when the domestic fixture schedule pauses for the World Cup in Qatar.
In fact, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s visit to Coventry City, Heckingbottom told The Star: “Now that we know Oli is going in, we can push him even harder. We can do that because we know it’s going to get sorted out. He’s had it for some time now, it’s been a while and that’s why we’ve booked him in.”
McBurnie travelled to London last week for a series of pain killing injections, having reassured United’s coaching staff that he will continue to make himself available for selection. Although Heckingbottom acknowledged the situation will require managing, with the Scotland international occasionally being named as a substitute, he added: “To be fair to Oli, he always puts himself out there. That tells you the type of character that he is. He is always prepared, even if it’s not always in his own best interests, to try and help the team and I think that’s to be respected and admired.”
Billy Sharp started the meeting with Michael Appleton’s side, which spawned six goals and four red cards - one of those being awarded to United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham following the final whistle.
McBurnie was introduced during the closing stages, and is preparing to face City having netted five times in his last eight outings.
“We allowed them to get back into the game, with the momentum,” Heckingbottom said, after watching United require an added time equaliser from Oliver Norwood to take a point from a fixture they had led 2-0. “We have out ourselves in that position. After that, we looked like the team we wanted to be. When they went down to nine, we created a lot of chances but didn’t take them.”