Sheffield United’s preparations for Saturday’s game against Charlton Athletic received a boost this morning when Mark Duffy and Caolan Lavery both trained with Chris Wilder’s first team squad.
Duffy has missed the League One leaders’ last two games after injuring a knee against Rochdale earlier this month while Lavery suffered a hamstring issue during Tuesday’s victory over Swindon Town. The former Northern Ireland international scored his fourth goal of the season at the County Ground.
Speaking at the Steelphalt Academy this morning, Wilder said: “Lavs and Duff, they’re both available, they’ve both trained today. Duffy took a heavy whack at Rochdale a couple of weeks ago and Caolan scored and set up a goal in the week.
“We’re fit and healthy and, at this stage, that’s all I can ask for. You are always going to get impact injuries. But going into the last nine games, we look in decent shape.”
Wilder, whose side are eight points clear of second-placed Fleetwood Town, also confirmed that Leon Clarke has trained without incident this week after returning from a spell at St George’s Park. The centre-forward has suffered a series of ankle issues since joining United from Bury during the close season.
“Leon is back in full training,” Wilder said. “Sometimes it’s good to get away, different surroundings and fresh ideas can help. He’s come back and he’s looking bright.”
This weekend’s fixture sees United return to Bramall Lane following three games on the road. Having beaten Swindon 4-2 earlier this week, Wilder’s team has taken seven points from a possible nine after responding to a 3-3 draw with Rochdale by triumphing 3-2 at Oxford.
“To pick up seven points out of nine, with two long trips, is excellent I think,” he said. “Now we’re delighted to be back at home. In terms of the times, how the games are set out between now and the end of the season, they seem to look okay.”
“It’s crackers sometimes, how you view the game,” Wilder added. “We’ve watched it (the Swindon fixture) back, they scored a great goal after half-time and then their second, possibly we’ve got a couple of things wrong in terms of timing. But it’s the high standards that we’ve set ourselves. Possibly the tension you feel isn’t quite what is happening out there. The right result happened on the night; first-half in particular I thought we played some excellent stuff.”