Sheffield United: Why Max Lowe has been recalled ahead of key Blackpool test

Max Lowe’s performances before suffering the injury which threatened to wreck his season prompted Sheffield United to recall the defender to their starting eleven ahead of Thursday’s visit to Blackpool.
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Explaining why Lowe was selected ahead of Enda Stevens for this week’s defeat of Coventry City, a result which saw his second placed team open up an eight point gap over Blackburn Rovers in third, manager Paul Heckingbottom admitted to being influenced by the 25-year-old displays at the beginning of the campaign.

Insisting “it just felt right” to pick Lowe after watching him complete his first 90 minutes since August, Heckingbottom told The Star: “We all saw how well Max was doing before what happened and he’s been performing really well in training. If we don’t give him the game time then he’s not going to get totally back up to speed is he, either. It just felt right to give Max the start now.”

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Lowe was enjoying a renaissance at United under Heckingbottom before he seriously damaged a hamstring during September’s victory at Hull City. Having returned from a spell on loan with Nottingham Forest, where he helped Steve Cooper’s side gain promotion to the Premier League, the former Derby County wing-back was emerging as one of United’s most influential players when disaster struck as he raced back towards his own goal to make an interception.

Although Heckingbottom described himself as “delighted” to “have Max back”, he reassured Stevens that he is likely to feature in plenty of United’s games over the remainder of the festive period. After travelling to Bloomfield Road, they face Queens Park Rangers on January 2nd before returning to London five days later for an FA Cup tie at Millwall.

Noting how Jayden Bogle, Lowe’s former colleague at Pride Park, is also fit again following a lengthy absence, Heckingbottom said: “With Jayden and George (Baldock) on the other side, this is the first time we’ve had these kind of options in those position for ages and we intend to make the most of it.

“Those are going to be vitally important moving forward, as we try and achieve our ambitions.”