Sheffield United: Jayden Bogle or Chris Basham? Who should start if George Baldock is ruled-out?
Sheffield United are likely to take a decision on whether or not to select George Baldock for Saturday’s game against Stoke City within the next 24 hours, after placing Jayden Bogle and Chris Basham on standby if their fellow defender is ruled-out of action.
The Star understands Baldock was granted leave of absence from the Championship club’s training complex at the beginning of the international break, as medical and coaching staff attempted to accelerate his recovery from the injury which forced him to limp-out of the defeat by AFC Bournemouth earlier this month.
However, the 28-year-old has since returned to South Yorkshire for further assessment and is likely to discover if he has made sufficient progress to take part in the meeting with City before tomorrow’s penultimate session.
If, as seems likely, United are forced to make a change then their manager Slavisa Jokanovic must decide if either Bogle or Basham step in as Baldock’s replacement. The Serb’s thinking will be influenced by a number of factors, including the visitors’ own strengths and weaknesses, given that the two players boast very different skill sets.
Basham, who deputised during the second half of the match at the Vitality Stadium, has predominantly operated as a centre-half over the past four seasons; a role he has performed superbly during United’s climb from the third to the first tier of English football under Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder. Signed from Derby County two summers ago, Bogle was a rare success story at Bramall Lane last term as United spiralled towards relegation - scoring two goals in his first four appearances before netting another during February’s victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Speaking as United prepared for the trip to Dorset, Jokanovic admitted to being “upset” by his inability to utilise Bogle on a more regular basis at the beginning of the campaign. The former Watford and Fulham chief, who started work in South Yorkshire in July, blamed that on the fact he is limited to selecting only 18 players in a matchday squad.
Despite losing his place in the starting eleven following United’s switch to a back four, Basham’s ability to cover a variety of positions means he has got the nod over Bogle in recent weeks as Jokanovic attempts to load his bench with attacking options.
“I didn’t want too many defenders on there,” he said, explaining the reasoning behind his thinking. “Not for these games we have had, although in others maybe.”
However, Bogle could be regarded as the more obvious choice to step-in if Baldock is deemed to be unavailable ahead of kick-off. If not, and United are minded to risk picking him, then Basham could again get the nod for the clash with City who have won nine of their 14 outings in all competitions this season. United are hoping to arrest a run of back to back losses, having also suffered a 2-0 reverse at Middlesbrough four days before succumbing in controversial circumstances to Scott Parker’s side.
Jokanovic felt neither of the goals his team conceded, after taking the lead through Morgan Gibbs-White, should have been allowed to stand - later claiming United had not been shown enough respect for their contribution to what proved an absorbing contest.