Sheffield United: Stay-at-home Blades aiming to reap the benefits

Kieron Freeman should be fit by the time Ipswich Town visit Bramall Lane later this month: Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage

Sheffield United will use the international break to ensure players including Richard Stearman and Kieron Freeman are firing on all cylinders by the time Ipswich Town visit Bramall Lane later this month.

Unlike many of their Championship rivals, who are set to travel abroad for warm-weather training later this week, Chris Wilder’s squad plan to remain in South Yorkshire and focus on maintaining fitness levels instead.

Stearman (hamstring) and Freeman (ribs) are among a clutch of players who missed Saturday’s visit to Nottingham Forest due to injuries and Wilder said: “The lads who haven’t been involved will be working really hard, that’s the way it is. We want them up to speed after being out and that’s something we’ll be focusing on.”

James Hanson and Caolan Lavery have also been absent for large chunks of the season, with the latter recently being fitted with a mask to protect the cheekbone and eyesocket he fractured during August’s win over Derby County.

“We want as many people back as possible,” Wilder added. “We want to have selection problems and difficult ones too.

“Everybody here has a part to play and, because we are all about the group, we want all of that group to be available if possible.”

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