Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has warned Tranmere Rovers that Harrison McGahey’s loan at Prenton Park could be cut short unless his parent club’s selection crisis shows signs of easing.
Clough made the admission ahead of today’s visit to Scunthorpe where he could be forced to deploy either John Brayford or Craig Alcock at centre-half having lost Chris Basham and Terry Kennedy to injury and suspension respectively.
United had hoped McGahey would spend the rest of the season with Rovers as part of a training programme, Clough told The Star last month, designed to help him master the more brutal aspects of his trade.
However, with Jay McEveley also nursing a shoulder problem, that idea is now on the verge of being shelved.
“There’s a chance we’re going to bring Harrison back as defensive cover,” Clough said. “I think we can do it after Saturday anyway when his 28 days are up.
“Ideally he’d stay out and get game time but our needs come first. That’s the sort of experience he needs out there, playing proper football for three points
“We’re happy with the five defenders, with John or Craig in there, because they’re both good in that position but he’ll give us a bit of cover until Terry is back fully fit again.”
United’s defensive options could become further stretched if McEveley fails to pass a fitness test before boarding the coach to Glanford Park. He pushed himself through the pain barrier against Fleetwood Town last weekend despite, Clough later insisted, “popping his joint” during the first-half of a defeat which saw United remain fifth in the League One table.
Mark Howard (back) and Jason Holt (ankle) are also doubtful.
“Jay’s shoulder has gone in and healing nicely,” Clough said. “We won’t risk him until the last moment with regards to training though.
“Mark is coming on nicely but we’ve got to wait until he’s comfortable again. Backs are notoriously difficult.
“Jason has also been doing some training but he’s always felt a little restricted with it.”