Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is left bemused as his team are plunged into a full blown crisis
Chris Wilder admits he is struggling to work out how Sheffield United will cope during this weekend’s game against Liverpool after an injury to Chris Basham plunged his team into a full blown defensive crisis.
Basham limped off during the second-half of Saturday’s defeat at Fulham - a result which effectively condemned the visitors to relegation from the Premier League - meaning they will enter the game against the reigning champions without all of their three first choice centre-halves.
With United electing not to bolster the options at Wilder’s disposal during the recent transfer window, the 53-year-old, who had wanted to sign Preston North End’s Ben Davies before his move to Anfield, told The Star: “The big fella (assistant manager Alan Knill) might have to do a late fitness test now, because he was a good centre-half in his day. We might have to dust him down and wheel him out there.
“I’ve talked about Bash before, probably the fittest player at the football club who has made God knows how many appearances over the last five years, and so for him to go down as well the way he did, I wonder what we’ve done wrong.
“You sometimes hear stuff about putting the kids in. This isn’t a time for young kids in that situation.
“First off, they need to be good enough for top-flight football against somne of the best in the business. And if they aren’t, if they aren’t ready and right, then we know what can happen and how that can influence them going forward.
“I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I’ll have to try and formulate something from somewhere. I don’t know what that is but we will be competitive.”
Basham will undergo further tests to ascertain the full extent of the hamstring injury he suffered before Ademola Lookman scored the only goal of a game between two of the sides in the bottom three. John Egan was ruled-out of a contest which saw United finish the match 14 points adrift of safety with only 13 games remaining after dislocating a toe at West Ham seven days ago. Jack O’Connell, another bulwark of the starring eleven which finished ninth last term, hasn’t featured since undergoing knee surgery in September.
Wilder’s frustration at both the outcome of the meeting with Scott Parker’s side and sight of Basham hobbling off was exacerbated by referee Martin Atkinson’s refusal to award United a late penalty when substitute Jayden Bogle appeared to have been fouled by Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. Bogle was brought down as he rounded the Frenchman but the hosts were awarded a free-kick, with Wilder later claiming he had been told VAR official Peter Bankes had also reviewed the incident.
“Nobody is bothered about us apart from us,” Wilder fumed. “If that was one of the big boys, that debate would rumble on forever. But because it’s us, it won’t. We got one injury and we’re fortunate we didn’t get another. Jayden, for me, is lucky to be coming home with us.”