Sheffield United key man's injury admission as he bids to fulfil promising pre-season prediction

Ben Osborn has admitted to feeling "a million miles away" from an injury comeback before returning to the Sheffield United side at the weekend.
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Osborn made his first start since last season's play-off semi-final against his old club Nottingham Forest in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Blackpool at Bramall Lane, playing just over an hour as an auxilary left wing-back amidst United's defensive crisis.

Blades chief Paul Heckingbottom predicted that Osborn could be set for a producitve season in the United side after impressing in pre-season, but hamstring and ankle injuries have hampered his availability.

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The 28-year-old utility man is out of contract at Bramall Lane in the summer and is keen to make up for lost time in his bid to earn an extended stay in South Yorkshire.

"There have been times when I've felt a million miles away from getting back on the pitch," Osborn told United's official programme.

"But over the last couple of weeks it has progressed quite quickly, and I am happy to be back out there.

Rhys Norrington-Davies and Ben Osborn of Sheffield United warm up: Simon Bellis / SportimageRhys Norrington-Davies and Ben Osborn of Sheffield United warm up: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Rhys Norrington-Davies and Ben Osborn of Sheffield United warm up: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

"I rolled my ankle against West Brom and my hamstring also tightened at the same time. They were probably both related.

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"The ankle was a lot worse than I first thought. It took a while to recover. But when I started to get back out on the grass, it seemed to heal pretty quickly."

Heckingbottom expected Osborn to push John Fleck for his place on the left of United's midfield but in reality, both men have been unavailable for long parts of the season. Fleck, another player out of contract in the summer, only recently returned to training after suffering a stress fracture of the leg back in August.

"Getting through pre-season and feeling good, to then get injured in the early weeks, was really frustrating," Osborn added.

"After a couple of weeks of sulking I was okay, and I had the goal of getting back.

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"I've tried to stay as fit as possible when I've been out, and the staff do a great job helping with that. For me, it's about getting that sharpness back in training.

"The lads have been doing great, so I was just desperate to get back out there."

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