Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has praised John Lundstram, Leon Clarke and Enda Stevens for avoiding the bookings which would have ruled them out of Saturday’s visit to Millwall.
The trio entered last weekend’s game against Birmingham City on four cautions apiece, knowing a fifth would trigger an automatic ban under the totting-up process.
With the likes of Paul Coutts, Kieron Freeman and Ched Evans already ruled-out through injury, losing more key members of his squad would have wrecked Wilder’s plans for the meeting with Neil Harris’ side.
“That was important, the bookings and not getting any,” he said. “There were a few strange decisions but I’ve come to get used to that by now. It was important that we didn’t lose anybody to suspension, it’s not a scenario we wanted to face. So they fact they all came through is good news going into next week.”
With United already short of specialist cover for Coutts, losing Lundstram could have forced Wilder to change their entire system at The Den with Basham, a midfielder-turned-defender, deputising for George Baldock (hamstring/calf) at wing-back.
Wilder, who hopes Baldock will be available for selection in London, would also have been disappointed to lose Clarke given that he travels to the capital searching for his 10th goal in only five games after scoring United’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw with City.
“It’s been disappointing to have him and Kieron (Freeman) both out at exactly the same time,” Wilder said.