Two more Sheffield United players facing uncertain futures as season-ending injuries compound boss frustration

Has had a tough time with injuries the last 15 months and was forced off against Luton last week Has had a tough time with injuries the last 15 months and was forced off against Luton last week
Has had a tough time with injuries the last 15 months and was forced off against Luton last week | Getty Images
Chris Wilder confirms more bad injury news for Sheffield United to compound frustration from 5-0 Brighton defeat

Two more Sheffield United players are facing uncertain futures after Chris Wilder, the Blades boss, confirmed their seasons are over through injuries. Rhys Norrington-Davies will not play again this campaign after a hamstring injury sustained just six weeks after returning from a 14-month lay off, while Max Lowe has suffered the same fate.

Lowe's season has been prematurely curtailed by an ankle ligament issue also suffered at Luton Town last weekend, which will result in another operation. The former Derby defender has already gone under the knife once this term after damaging his ankle standing on a sprinkler at Pride Park in pre-season.

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While both absences are big blows for United - leaving loanee Yasser Larouci as the club's only dedicated left wing-back, after Luke Thomas's return to Leicester in the last transfer window - they could also have ramifications for either player's future at Bramall Lane. Both are out of contract in the summer, with Wilder warning recently that availability, rather than sentiment, will play a big part in whether new deals are offered or not.

"The availability of the players over quite a long period has not been great and it affects everything," Wilder said before Saturday's 5-0 defeat at home to Brighton and Hove Albion, which saw loanee Mason Holgate sent off in the 13th minute for a tackle that will rule him out of upcoming games against Wolves, Arsenal and Bournemouth.

"It affects your consistency, your continuity, team selection, your ability to change things, to rest players, to get into any sort of rhythm and any sort of rhythm from a coaching point of view. It's the biggest thing and I've said to the board that's definitely what we need next year, whatever division we're in, we need players who are available. And through that, you obviously have to make decisions on players and we have to make sure we get it right as well."

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With Larouci playing only a bit-part role since his summer loan move from Troyes, Ben Osborn is likely to fill in as an auxilary left wing-back while the Frenchman builds his fitness. Auston Trusty has also played at left-back while United have operated with a back four, but the last two games - victory at Luton and defeat at home to Brighton - have seen a return to a more familiar 3-5-2 for United.

"I don't like the decisions I have to make when I lose Lowey and Rhys Norrington-Davies for the season," Wilder added. "These are things that are hurting us and have hurt the club over the last two or three years."

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Cameron Archer, a goalscorer at Luton, missed out against Brighton with a calf issue and Ben Brereton Diaz remains sidelined with a hamstring complaint, while Oli McBurnie was back on the bench at the weekend but was only in a position to play 10 minutes and so remained on the bench with United already well beaten.

"Cameron trained Thursday and trained Friday and felt okay, then his calf tightened. A tight calf and a real slight strain," Wilder said. "We changed the team after the last bit of training on Saturday morning when he hobbled out. So disappointing from that point of view.

"Ben wasn't close. We'll assess him this week, and Oli the same. He had 10 minutes in the locker but I wanted him around and would have chucked him on for the last 10 minutes but this is the difficult part, we're looking at players who can only play a certain anount of minutes and we're having to make physical substitutions.

"It's quite difficult when you only have so many slots to do that. You're not making tactical decisions, you're making physical substitutions. Which from a manager's point of view is the worst aspect of it."

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