Sheffield United: Key player expected to be available for selection against Fulham

Iliman Ndiaye, whose presence in attack appears crucial to Sheffield United’s hopes of reaching the Premier League, is expected to be available for selection against Fulham on Saturday.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:39 am

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The Frenchman, who has scored three goals in his last four outings, was substituted during the second-half of last week’s victory over Queens Park Rangers - prompting fears he could miss the meeting with Marco Silva’s side.

Fifth in the table and two points ahead of seventh placed Middlesbrough, United enter their final match of the regular season knowing another win will guarantee them one of the Championship’s four play-off berths.

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Explaining why Ndiaye failed to complete the game in west London, Paul Heckingbottom said: “He had cramp. Nothing serious. He’d put a lot in and what he’d been doing, it put a strain on his body.”

Heckingbottom, the United manager, was referring to the fact the 22-year-old, like Rhian Brewster a practising Muslim, was still observing Ramadan when his team travelled to Loftus Road. As The Star revealed following that fixture, Heckingbottom and his staff helped devise an individual preparation programme for Ndiaye before the meeting with Rangers to ensure he could perform despite fasting during daylight hours. The action was also briefly stopped to allow Ndiaye to take his iftar - evening meal - when the sun set over the capital. With the holiest month on the Islamic calendar now over, Ndiaye is now following the same nutritional schedule as the rest of his colleagues.

“He got through and was ready,” said Heckingbottom, who has seen Ndiaye’s partnership with Morgan Gibbs-White soften the blow caused by captain Billy Sharp’s absence.

Sheffield United's Iliman Ndiaye is expected to start the match against Fulham: Alistair Langham / Sportimage
Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, with Iliman Ndiaye: Andrew Yates / Sportimage