Sheffield United: Blades expect to pack a punch on Boxing Day

Stefan Scougall should be fit for the Blades by Boxing Day
Stefan Scougall should be fit for the Blades by Boxing Day

Stefan Scougall is expected to be available for Sheffield United’s Boxing Day fixture against Oldham Athletic, manager Chris Wilder has confirmed, despite missing the victory over Coventry City with a hamstring problem.

The former Scotland under-21 international was withdrawn from Thursday’s game at the Ricoh Arena after being diagnosed with the problem earlier this week.

But, quashing fears he could be set to miss the Christmas fixture schedule, Wilder said: “Stefan should be okay for our next game, we’re expecting him to be back. It (the hamstring) is tight and he was feeling it a bit. So we didn’t want to take any risks with him because of that and it was better that he missed out.”

United climbed to second in the League One table - level on points with leaders Scunthorpe - when they beat Mark Venus’ side 2-1 during a fixture marred by protests against City’s owners SISU. News that Scougall is set to feature against Athletic, combined with the return of defenders Jake Wright and James Wilson from injury, means Wilder is expected to have a full strength squad available for a run of games he recently described as “vitally important” in the battle for Championship football next term.

“These could be key games,” Wilder said. “And we want everybody fit if possible because they come thick and fast.”

Wilder revealed after the meeting with City that both Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Leon Clarke had only featured after passing late fitness tests following a collision in training. Like Scougall, United’s medical staff do not envisage either being forced to watch next week’s clash with Athletic from the sidelines.

“They had a real collision,” Wilder said. “But that’s down to the intensity of our training sessions.

“Yes, they were touch and go to face City but they came through okay. We asked them if they thought they could play and both of them put their hands-up.”