Chris Wilder has issues of injury and suspension to deal with as Sheffield United look to continue their good start in the Championship this weekend.
The third-placed Blades return to action after the international break on Saturday with a home game against Ipswich Town, who are eighth in the table.
Paul Coutts is suspended after picking up his fifth caution of the season in United’s defeat at Nottingham Forest last time out, and George Baldock is out after damaging his calf in the same game - although his loss is tempered by the return of Kieron Freeman, who damaged his ribs against Norwich last month but should slot straight back into the team.
John Lundstram, who put United ahead at the City Ground before they were pinned back and eventually lost 2-1, is expected to keep his place in midfield alongside John Fleck, leaving Wilder to pick from Billy Sharp, Leon Clarke, Clayton Donaldson and David Brooks for the two striker spots.
“George’s injury wasn’t as bad as we first feared, but he’ll miss out and should be back against Reading next week,” Wilder said.
“He has done outstandingly well, coming back into the team, but Kieron is available so that soothes the pain of missing George.
“I have just given our team away in a heartbeat there, but I think everyone recognises that there’s not going to be many changes in our team.
“They have done very well. We have come through a difficult period, and the players we have missed have weakened us a little bit.
“But the performances and results have been outstanding. I will be delighted when I have a full squad to pick from, and we are getting close to it.
“That’s good news for everybody.”
Ipswich make the trip to South Yorkshire on the back of a defeat last time out - losing 3-1 at home to Bristol City - but are three points behind United and six behind leaders Cardiff.
“I have bumped into Mick a few times and he has had a fantastic career as a manager,” Wilder said of McCarthy, born in Barnsley.
“They were written off at the start of the season, it was a difficult period for them last year [when they finished 16th after drawing six games in a row at one stage, and then losing their last three games].
“They have come bouncing back, and am I surprised? No. It’ll be a proper football match.”