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Sheffield United: Wilder to step up defender hunt after fresh Wright blow

Jake Wright receives treatment after suffering an injury during last week's friendly at Stocksbridge Park Steels
Jake Wright receives treatment after suffering an injury during last week's friendly at Stocksbridge Park Steels
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Sheffield United will redouble their efforts to sign a new centre-half after it emerged Jake Wright is expected to miss the start of the Championship season.

The defender, a key member of the squad which lifted the League One title 14 months ago, requires surgery to repair the facial injury which ruled him out of last night’s friendly with Maritimo.

Chris Wilder in Portugal

Chris Wilder in Portugal

With youngster Rhys Norrington-Davies earmarked for a loan move away from Bramall Lane, news that Wright could be absent for up to six weeks threatens to leave Wilder short of specialist cover ahead of United’s curtain-raiser against Swansea City.

“It’s around Jake’s cheekbone,” he said. “He took a nasty whack there and it need sorting out. Obviously it’s a shame, that goes without saying. But we want him to be right.”

Wilder, who also wants to bolster his attacking options ahead of next month’s game against Swansea City, did not go into detail about the exact nature of the problem, But United’s medical staff confirmed he is scheduled to undergo an operation before the 1-0 victory over the Portuguese. Ched Evans, who is expected to depart on loan next week, scored the only goal of a game Wilder’s side controlled almost from start to finish.

Wright, aged 32, sustained the damage during Friday’s visit to Stocksbridge Park Steels and was granted permission to miss United’s training camp in Portugal. Another absentee, goalkeeper George Long, is expected to join Yorkshire rivals Hull City after being made available for transfer. Nigel Adkins, whose squad have also been based on the Algarve this week, is known to be an admirer of Long and expects to unveil him shortly. The two worked closely together during Adkins’ spell in charge of United, which ended when Wilder was appointed.

An estimated 850 supporters travelled from England to watch the 50-year-old’s team beat their Primeira Liga opponents.

“It’s humbling, it really is humbling, when you see so many people coming such a long way for a game like this,” Wilder said. “It’s means a lot to the players and myself. You can’t out a price on something like that.”