Sheffield United feared Caolan Lavery could lose his sight in one eye after shattering an eye socket, manager Chris Wilder confirmed last night, before revealing the centre-forward has received the all-clear to resume full-contact training.
Lavery sustained the injury during a sickening clash of heads with Derby County’s Marcus Olsson eight weeks ago and required several rounds of surgery to repair the damage.
Although Wilder acknowledged the centre-forward will not be considered for selection against Reading tomorrow, he told The Star that Lavery could make his comeback when United visit Leeds in seven days time.
“Caolan is back in full training and will possibly be available next week,” Wilder said. “He might play a game and that’s two months after the Derby game which is good going. It was a fair old whack.
“When you hear he might lose his sight after the game, that there was a possibility of that, for him to get back out on the grass with the rest of the lads is brilliant.”
Describing the moment Lavery collided with Olsson, Wilder added: “It was right in front of me, right in front of the dug-outs, and I told him to go and win the header. As soon as he set-off I thought, ‘Oh no, he’s not going to make it.’ I’m not sure if he remembers that though.”
United went on to beat Gary Rowett’s side 3-1 and after winning five of their seven outings since, enter the meeting with Reading third in the table; two points behind leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wilder’s squad prepared for the match by arranging a behind-closed-doors friendly at Burnley in midweek. David Brooks and Richard Stearman were both on target
“There’s only Kieron Freeman and Ched (Evans) out now,” Wilder said. “Everybody else is back on the grass.
“We’ve got 23 players so we can afford to have a bounce game. Even though it’s sometimes difficult to set up.”
Meanwhile, Wilder has insisted United did not insert a buy-out clause into David Brooks’ new contract.
The youngster committed his long-term future to Bramall Lane earlier this week, despite being linked with a £10m move to the Premier League.
But Wilder denied the agreement stipulates a figure clubs monitoring Brooks’ progress must pay before being granted permission to hold talks, having previously claimed the 20-year-old will be “going nowhere” when the transfer window reopens in January.
“There is no buy-out clause in the contract,” Wilder said. “It is just about time (the length of the contract).”