Sheffield United boost over Newcastle loanee but more fitness frustration for key man

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Ciaran Clark is back in contention for a Sheffield United starting place for the season run-in, manager Paul Heckingbottom has confirmed, giving United’s promotion hopes a boost after a spell on the sidelines.

The Newcastle United loanee has not been seen since going off at half-time in the draw with Queens Park Rangers on January 2, with Jack Robinson performing admirably in his absence.

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After briefly returning to the United matchday squad, Clark disappeared again but is in line to return to the 18 for Good Friday’s home clash against Wigan Athletic as United look to pile more pressure on the chasing pack in the race for the Premier League.

Asked for an injury update on Clark and his fellow Republic of Ireland international Enda Stevens, who also hasn’t played for the first-team since early January, Heckingbottom said: “Back fit now. Enda had a slight relapse with his hamstring after getting back and looking fit, which was frustrating for everyone. Proably more Enda than anyone else.

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“Ciaran had a lot of training over the break. He had a little spasm in his back but looks fit and strong so he’s involved, he’s in contention.”

Ben Osborn has reported back for duty at United’s training complex, a fortnight after being injured during a freak accident, while Daniel Jebbison, who picked up an injury on England U20 duty, is closing in on a return to fitness.

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