Towards the end of last month, during his pre-match media briefing before the League One fixture against MK Dons, Chris Wilder issued a warning about how quickly the footballing landscape can change.
Forty-eight hours later, when it emerged Matt Done was facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after fracturing his jaw, it became clear the Sheffield United manager was talking about recruitment strategy as well as results.
Wilder, who had made signing Ethan Ebanks-Landell his priority during the January transfer window, is now considering whether a centre-forward rather than centre-half should feature at the top of Bramall Lane’s wanted list.
Certainly, having noted the difference in strength between the respective benches when Dons visited South Yorkshire nine days ago, bolstering United’s squad for the second half of the League One season will feature on the agenda when coaching staff meet with directors to draft their team-building plans.
“You come up with plans but they’ve always got to be flexible because things happen very quickly,” Wilder said. “Up front, for example, you can very quickly go from four (players) to two, which would obviously be a concern. So that’s something we might have to take a look at.”
United, who thumped Leyton Orient 6-0 in the FA Cup yesterday, return to league action at Chesterfield on Sunday.
With Connor Dimao and Liam Graham both likely to be away on international duty, Danny Wilson’s side will enter the fixture with their resources stretched.
Wilder could be facing a similar problem too. Done missed the first-round tie against Orient as he pressed ahead with his recovery programme while fellow striker Leon Clarke faces a race against time to be fit. Clarke, a summer signing from Bury, has missed nearly two months of football after chipping an ankle bone.
Caolan Lavery played the second half of the first-round tie against Orient and could start Wednesday’s Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Grimsby Town.
“Leon has been itching to get back in,” Wilder said. “He wants to make an impression and be a part of things, which he will be. That’s only natural, especially when you come to a new club and things have been going well.
“We want him out there as quickly as possible.”