Sheffield United: Blades sweat on key duo

Stefan Scougall (right) hopes to be fit for tomorrow's match against Coventry City � copyright :  BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Stefan Scougall (right) hopes to be fit for tomorrow's match against Coventry City � copyright : BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Sheffield United will wait until the last possible moment before naming their starting eleven for tomorrow’s League One fixture at Coventry City, manager Nigel Clough has warned, as Stefan Scougall and Craig Alcock battle to make themselves available for selection.

Clough, who revealed Jamal Campbell-Ryce was “struggling with his ankle” during the second-half of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie with Mansfield Town, confirmed Alcock and Scougall had both missed the 2-1 victory after seeing “slight niggles” interrupt their preparations for last weekend’s opener against Bristol City.

“We’ll see how they are,” Clough, who hopes to unveil a new defender before the visit to Sixfields Stadium, said. “But the good thing about our cup tie was the fact it gave some of those who missed the previous match an opportunity and it’s only fair we look at the whole squad.”

City have doubts over the availability of Danny Pugh after the former Leeds defender left the ground wearing a protective boot following their first round defeat by Cardiff but manager Steven Pressley hopes Reda Johnson, signed from Sheffield Wednesday, will take part after recovering from a groin complaint.

Marcus Tudgay, who also represented United’s arch-rivals, is expected to be declared fit having missed the meeting with Ole Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side due to an overnight illness.

With both teams still searching for their first league win of the new season - City lost 3-2 at Bradford six days ago - Clough must also decide whether to recall Harrison McGahey and youngster Louis Reed after Neill Collins and Michael Doyle produced solid displays in midweek.

“There were a few lads who missed a start against Bristol City and a few who missed out on the squad altogether,” Clough said. “They reacted in exactly the way we would expect a professional footballer to do.

“They will have wanted to show us that they deserve to be in there again and that we shouldn’t leave them out. But it’s going to be a long and demanding season so everyone will be utilised and get their chance.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1