Sheffield Wednesday’s Barry Bannan denied ‘brilliant’ opportunity to play alongside Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck for Scotland

Barry Bannan has been forced to pull out of the Scotland squad and with that went the chance to line up alongside Steel City rival John Fleck – an opportunity he was relishing.

Sunday, 17th March 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th March 2019, 4:03 pm
John Fleck of Sheffield United  chased by Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane Stadium, Sheffield.  Simon Bellis/Sportimage
John Fleck of Sheffield United chased by Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane Stadium, Sheffield. Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The Owls midfielder, having initially been named in Alex McLeish’s line-up, will miss his country’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Kazakhstan and San Marino this week after withdrawing on Sunday.

The 29 year-old played in Wednesday's 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday – assisting in three of the four goals – but like fellow Scot Steven Fletcher, appears to have picked up a knock in that encounter at Hillsborough.

Fletcher – who had already been omitted on doctor’s advice due to the managing of a long-running knee injury and the fact Kazakhstan play on an artificial pitch - came off ‘feeling a little tightness’ in his groin but Bannan finished the game.

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It will represent a huge blow to proud Bannan who was back in the national set-up for the first time in 18 months.

Aside from missing linking up with the squad, the Owls talisman was looking forward to the possibility of playing with Blades star Fleck, who could earn his first senior cap this week.

“It would be brilliant to share a midfield with him,” Bannan told the Herald. “He has done really well since he has been at Sheffield United and they are flying.

“I have played against them a couple of times and he has really caught the eye. I remember playing with him in the Under-21s, I think he was maybe at Rangers at the time, and you could see he had talent then. He is another one who could maybe open defences up.”