Sheffield United: New signing could miss key games over Christmas and New Year

Adlene Guedioura, the Sheffield United midfielder, could miss at least seven Championship games if he is enlisted to help Algeria defend their African Cup of Nations title.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 3:50 pm

Guedioura, whose former club Nottingham Forest meet Slavisa Jokanovic’s side tomorrow, was a member of the team which beat Senegal in the final of the tournament two years ago.

Although he has not featured in any of his country’s squads since leaving Qatari club Al-Gharafa last summer, where Jokanovic was also employed before taking charge of United, the Serb recently confirmed that Guedioura remains at Djamel Belmadi’s disposal ahead of next year’s competition in Cameroon. The Fennec Foxes will begin their campaign on January 11, with a match against Sierra Leone.

Given recent concerns expressed by the Confederation of African Football’s organising committee about “sanitary” conditions inside the host country, it has been claimed European based players taking part in the competition could be required to report for duty on Boxing Day in order to comply with Covid-19 quarantine regulations. The AFCON final is scheduled to take place on February 6, meaning Guedioura could be unavailable for United’s games against the likes of Middlesbrough and Luton Town should he be called up and Belmadi’s men make it through. United are also set to play at least one FA Cup game within that period. Their trip to Birmingham City, which takes place 24 hours before the showpiece event in Yaounde, will be rescheduled if they progress to the fourth round.

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Adlene Guedioura of Sheffield United also played for Nottingham Forest: Darren Staples / Sportimage

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Guedioura, who turns 36 later this month, last appeared for Algeria during a friendly against Tunisia in June. The midfielder’s absence from their recent squads coincided with his departure from the Middle East, which saw him remain a free agent until United handed him a short term contract in September.

Despite making only two outings since then, Guedioura, who made 100 appearances for Forest across three periods at the City Ground, has been told he remains an important part of Jokanovic’s plans with the United manager confirming “Adlene is ready and available” before last weekend’s defeat by Blackpool.

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic worked with the midfielder at Al-Gharafa in Qatar: Simon Bellis/ Sportimage

Algeria will contest World Cup qualifiers against Djibouti and Burkina Faso before heading to Cameroon.

Algeria's midfielder Adlene Guedioura celebrates after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations: MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images
Adlene Guedioura signed a season long contract with Sheffield United after leaving Al-Gharafa: Phil Oldham / Sportimage