Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has confirmed both Billy Sharp and Chris Basham will miss the Good Friday clash against Nottingham Forest at Bramall Lane.
The duo were both withdrawn with injuries during Saturday’s frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Millwall; a result that allowed promotion rivals Leeds to subsequently claim a three-point advantage in the push for the top two after they beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 later in the day.
Wilder, speaking to the media on Wednesday, says Sharp, who picked up a hamstring strain and Basham, will both miss out on Friday – and also remain doubts for the Easter Monday trip to face Hull.
The duo are huge players for the Blades and their loss will be a huge blow for Wilder, who will also be without defender John Egan for one-match following his red card for a deliberate handball against Millwall.
The absence of Sharp will give loanees Scott Hogan and Gary Madine the chance to stake their claims for a place in the side, but it’s the loss of the talismanic Sharp in particular will come as a big blow.
Blades, whose match kicks off at 12.30 on Friday, can move second again with a win over Forest due to their superior goal difference over Leeds, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side not to play until 3pm against Wigan at Elland Road.
Wilder appeared to get irked by questions over whether Blades’ hopes of automatic promotion had bitten the dust and said of the gap to Leeds: “The last time I looked it was only three points. The school I went to was quite a decent one so we are still in with a shout. One big win can change everything.”
Asked for his thoughts on who he felt would go up, Wilder continued: “Anyone who has two points a game or better come the end of the season, they deserve to get out of the division. If the teams above us do that, they will deserve it. I’ve always said that. ”
Wilder, however, remained upbeat over the Blades’ prospects as he told the Sheffield Star: “A lot of teams, a lot of very big and powerful teams, would swap with us in a heartbeat.
“They’d give everything to be where we are in the table, fighting for what we’re fighting for, rather than being in the position they are in.”
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