Why Sheffield United's Antwoine Hackford missed out at Bristol Rovers but Kyron Gordon got his chance

Chris Wilder has explained why Antwoine Hackford was omitted from the Sheffield United squad which beat Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup, and outlined the reasons behind Kyron Gordon’s appearance on the bench.

Sunday, 10th January 2021, 2:43 pm

Seven days after making his senior debut during a Premier League fixture at Crystal Palace, 16-year-old Hackford had been expected to feature again at the Memorial Stadium - where United reached the fourth round of the competition following their first win of the season.

But Wilder sprung a surprise by leaving the teenager out of his plans and handing Gordon, another member of the Premier League club’s Steelphalt Academy youth system, an opportunity to sit on the bench instead.

“We had Burkey (Oliver Burke) in there to provide a stretch,” Wilder said, after watching the Scot score his first goal in United colours during the 3-2 victory. “Lys (Mousset) was always going to play, so I had a decision about who to bring and what we might need.

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Ethan Ampadu, Phil Jagielka and Kyron Gordon (R) before the FA Cup tie at Bristol Rovers: Darren Staples/Sportimage

“I wanted to bring Kyron, because he’s been involved with the first team a fair bit since pre-season, he’s done well and I thought we might have needed the type of qualities he brings.”

Gordon, aged 18, was handed his opportunity after fellow defenders George Baldock and Enda Stevens were forced to withdraw with fitness issues which could threaten their involvement against Newcastle next week.

“Kyron didn’t get on, but I think he’ll have learned so much from being in and around the lads on a matchday,” Wilder said. “We know what his attitude is like and it will have taught him a lot.”

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