Sheffield United: Blades receive defensive boost ahead of Christmas period

James Wilson played for Sheffield United's under-23's on Monday evening 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved
James Wilson played for Sheffield United's under-23's on Monday evening �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

James Wilson has taken a major step forward in his battle against injury.

The Sheffield United centre-half completed 60 minutes of Monday’s Professional Development League victory over Crewe Alexandra after missing 13 matches due to an ankle complaint.

Although he is unlikely to feature against Coventry City tomorrow, manager Chris Wilder told The Star Wilson’s progress, combined with the return to fitness of Leon Clarke and fellow defender Jake Wright, is timely ahead of the Christmas period.

“James played an hour so that was good,” Wilder said. “It’s always better when you can give them games before chucking them in. Sometimes you do that and take a punt, as we did with Leon. But they’re all at different levels.”

Wilson had been due to play in a behind closed doors friendly against Mansfield earlier this month but was forced to withdraw on the morning of the game. With United scheduled to play four times in 19 days over Christmas, Wilder added: “With a tight squad - we don’t have 44 professionals on the books and three different practice games going on at the same time - it’s important that we keep the players fresh and that they’re fit and healthy. We’re going to be busy.”

Jake Wright recently returned to fitness following injury.  Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Jake Wright recently returned to fitness following injury. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage