Sheffield United: Is Wes Foderingham the new number one as Robin Olsen closes in on a return to action?
Paul Heckingbottom will shortly face the biggest decision so far of his reign as Sheffield United manager as goalkeeper Robin Olsen continues his recovery from injury.
The Sweden international has missed United’s last three games after sustaining a muscle problem on duty with his country, with Wes Foderingham yet to concede since being drafted into the starting eleven.
If Foderingham’s form continues, and United are able to stretch their unbeaten run to four matches when they face Cardiff City this weekend, then Heckingbottom will find it difficult to offer Olsen an immediate route back into the starting eleven when he receives the all-clear from Bramall Lane’s medical department.
Speaking before he was sacked last week, the 44-year-old’s predecessor Slavisa Jokanovic suggested Olsen would be available for selection around Saturday’s visit to Wales.
Signed on loan from AS Roma, Olsen is likely to be one of the highest earners on United’s payroll although the Italians agreed to subsidise a percentage of his salary in order to facilitate the move.
If he struggles to regain his place, then United will inevitably face calls to request that agreement is terminated. However, given Michael Verrips’ error strewn performance against West Bromwich Albion earlier this term, allowing Olsen to return to Italy could leave them exposed if Foderingham suffers a dip in confidence or fitness issue.
After acting as caretaker following Chris Wilder’s departure last season, Heckingbottom won his first match in permanent charge of United when Bristol City were beaten 2-0 on Sunday with Rhian Brewster and Billy Sharp writing their names onto the scoresheet.