Sheffield United sweat over the availability of key player for Manchester City clash

David McGoldrick is scheduled to undergo an intensive round of treatment in a bid to be passed fit for tomorrow’s game against Manchester City.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 7:08 am

The Sheffield United centre-forward missed Saturday’s draw with Arsenal due to what club officials described as a “minor foot injury” presumably sustained during training.

Despite failing to score since April, McGoldrick has been reassured by Chris Wilder that his place in the starting eleven is not under threat because, according to United’s manager, they “play better” when the Republic of Ireland international is “out there on the pitch.”

It will not have gone unnoticed by the visitors that, even though John Fleck’s late strike ensured they returned home from London with a point, the performance they produced was far from their best.

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David McGoldrick, right, missed Saturday's draw with Arsenal at the Emirates

“If we had won,” Wilder later acknowledged, “Then I don’t think it would have been deserved.”

Speaking before the visit to the Emirates Stadium, Wilder had insisted United were dealing with no fresh fitness issues following their win over West Ham eight days earlier.

Simon Moore, who spent the opening four months of the season as back-up to first-choice goalkeeper Dean Henderson, was again missing from the team sheet; suggesting the groin problem which has ruled him out since the win over Brighton and Hove Albion has either yet to fully heal or that Michael Verrips is now the 22-year-old’s preferred deputy.

But McGoldrick’s absence in north London was a surprise. Likewise Luke Freeman’s failure to make the substitutes’ bench, where his namesake Kieron was selected instead.

Although reports surfaced over the weekend that United will allow the summer signing from Queens Park Rangers to depart on loan during the transfer window providing a replacement can be found, The Star understands these misinterpret goings-on behind the scenes at Bramall Lane.

Rather than being an indication Wilder is unhappy with Freeman’s progression, coaching staff believe the way United have developed tactically since the beginning of the campaign - particularly the way their need for a ‘Number 10’ has diminished following John Lundstram’s rise to prominence - is the biggest challenge the 27-year-old faces.

McGoldrick, should he be declared available for selection against City, is also adept at linking up play between their midfield and attack.