Sheffield United: Blades boss bemoans Harry loss

Harry Maguire collected his fifth caution of the season against Bristol City three days ago � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Harry Maguire collected his fifth caution of the season against Bristol City three days ago � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Matt Hill is poised to deputise for Harry Maguire at the heart of Sheffield United’s defence tonight after the England under-21 international was ruled-out through suspension, writes James Shield.

Maguire collected his fifth caution of the season during Saturday’s victory over Bristol City and will miss the League One fixture against Walsall as a result.

Nigel Clough, the United manager, told his pre-match media briefing that midfielder Ryan Flynn is also a doubt after aggravating the foot injury which has troubled him in recent weeks.

“Harry is unavailable and so that means we’ll have to change things there,” Clough said last night. “Matty will probably be the one to come for him.

“Ryan’s problem has flared-up again and so we’ll have to see how he is. We’ll take a look at him on the morning of the game.

“Other than that, we’ve got a pretty clean bill of health. Fingers crossed that stays the same.”

With former Walsall winger Febian Brandy serving the final game of a four match ban, Clough has privately reminded his players about the importance of avoiding unnecessary bookings. Defender Tony McMahon and attacker Jose Baxter enter this evening’s contest having collected four yellow cards apiece since competition resumed in August.

“Harry just prodded the ball in front of him a touch too far,” Clough added. “That’s what led to him having his name taken unfortunately.”

United, 21st in the table following their 1-0 triumph at Ashton Gate, beat Dean Smith’s side by the same scoreline in the corresponding fixture last term. The visitors, meanwhile, could recall Nicky Featherstone at Romaine Sawyer’s expense after being held to a goalless draw by Crawley Town.

Smith said: “We have good footballers here but also players who are very solid, level-headed blokes. We hand-picked them, in that respect.

“When we consider signing a player we look very hard at his character and temperament as well as his attributes as a footballer.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1