Just when you thought it could not get any worse for Chris Wilder, it’s was revealed yesterday that influential defender Jack O’Connell will be out for the season. he 26-year-old needs to go under the knife for an operation on a knee injury that he sustained last season and that has not managed to clear. It’s a huge blow to not only himself and the manager, but for everyone connected to Sheffield United. O’Connell has been one of the biggest success stories since he joined the club in League One and enjoyed an impressive first season in the Premier League. The Blades boss has been speaking about his disappointment at losing him following his side’s defeat to Leeds today. And the need for reinforcements is clear.
Chris Wilder said “He’s an important part of the team and we need to cover that situation. He’s a huge blow for us as a football club and for Jack more than anything. He had a good season in the Premier League and he has worked his socks off to achieve that, like we all have. For him to be out for the season is a blow. A lot of things going against us at the minute, but roll your sleeves up, stick your chest out and go again. There will be no feeling sorry for ourselves at Sheffield United. We have to dig in and keep going. Spoke to the owners. We have known this for two or three days. I have highlighted that we need to bring someone in in that position. We are light and can’t rely on Jack Robinson playing the season right the way through. I have recommended to the board that we bring a couple of players in. We have put some names to them and hopefully they will look at that and agree with my assessment that we need to strengthen. The way we play has taken a lot of work on the training ground. It’s not always been fluent, there’s some mistakes in it but our back three has been hugely important to our progression these last two or three years and Jack has been with us since League One. He has had an outstanding career with Sheffield United so far, so to lose him is a blow for me personally, the football club and the players, of course, because of what he contributes to the team. I have been concentrating on preparing the team but obviously time is running out and we all understand that.”
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