Chris Wilder last night explained why Caolan Lavery is still waiting to make his first start for Sheffield United.
Lavery, the former Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward, recovered from an ankle injury earlier this month but has played only 20 minutes of football since returning to fitness.
Although Wilder remains adamant Lavery will emerge as a key player, particularly as coaching staff look to limit the workload being undertaken by Billy Sharp and Matt Done, he admitted the circumstances behind the centre-forward’s move to Bramall Lane have complicated attempts to integrate him into United’s team.
“It’s a little bit of a unique one, because of the amount of football that he hasn’t played,” Wilder said. “But we didn’t sign him to play (immediately), we wanted him to be fit in October, of course. We have to make sure we look after him. He’s alright, we have to trust our medical staff.”
Despite quickly setting his heart on a move to Bramall Lane, Lavery missed United’s pre-season preparations as the terms of his departure from Hillsborough were negotiated. The 24-year-old, who celebrated his birthday at Bradford City on Saturday, rejected Wednesday’s offer of a new contract but United were still required to pay their arch-rivals a compensation fee.
“We’ve got some excellent staff working here at the football club,” Wilder said. “We brought Matt Prestridge in with us from Northampton who does a superb job. So we respect their opinions and have taken a group decision on what is right for Caolan.”