Sheffield United will be without 11 players when they face Wolverhampton Wanderers in FA Cup

Sheffield United will be without 11 senior players when they travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup third round this weekend.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 1:24 pm

Manager Paul Heckingbottom confirmed in his pre-match press conference that three more players have been hit with Covid-19 or injury issues, leading him to admit that the Blades will utilise all five of their substitutes when they return to action at Molineux after a period of enforced inactivity.

“There’s another three missing, so 11 in total,” Heckingbottom said. “It’s a good opportunity for the boys who are available.

“It’s not been ideal. We’re desperate for games, so I’m not going to moan about it. But it’s been a tough period for us with games being called off. We’re not going to take risks with people with the amount of games coming. So we have 11 missing at the minute.

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Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom is without 11 first-team players for Sunday's trip to Wolves: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“Game time is key now. We have a plan but that changed Tuesday and again on Wednesday and will probably change again between now and the game. We’ll be ready and make sure we can get the game on. We’re looking forward to getting the games in.”

Rhian Brewster returned to training earlier this week after a period out with a hamstring injury, while Robin Olsen will once again miss out this weekend.

“Rhian’s had a couple of days back training with us, so we’re pleased with how he’s progressed,” Heckingbottom added.

“He’s done his rehab and is back on the grass, which is good for him. We have to be careful with him but he’s made the first step.

“Olsen is still injured and had Covid problems. He had a positive lateral flow that turned out to be negative and another positive lateral flow a few days ago. So he’s another that’s missing.

“We just want to get a team out and give them a game. We used bits from the preparation last time against them but there’s not a lot of players who played in that game that’ll play in this one.

“We need to make sure whoever we put out is ready and give their best. We have five substitutes in this and will use them, because we want to get minutes into players and protect others. The bench will be important.”