Chris Wilder has revealed Chris Basham is not guaranteed a place in Sheffield United’s starting eleven when he returns from suspension.
Basham could return to action against Shrewsbury Town at Greenhous Meadow this evening after serving a three match ban.
But with John Fleck impressing in the 28-year-old’s absence, Wilder said: “There’s more to come from John Fleck. I thought he was outstanding (against Port Vale) at the weekend. Chris Hussey came on and he is also growing into this football club. John has been hampered a little bit with injuries and Bash and Coutts had done well. Bash is a key player for us and we’ve got these results without him. So now it’s up to Bash to get back in.”
Fleck, who joined United during the close season, endured a frustrating start to his career in South Yorkshire after Basham and Paul Coutts established a formidable partnership in midfield. A series of fitness issues also hampered the former Scotland under-21 international’s progress - he missed a large chunk of pre-season after leaving Coventry City in June - but Wilder views him as a potential solution to United’s shortage of goals from central areas.
Particularly after having one disallowed during last weekend’s 4-0 win over Bruno Ribeiro’s side.
“We’ve spoken about goals from midfield. Couttsy and John Fleck, he has the ability to score,” Wilder continued. “We we were disappointed for him (Fleck) because that goal wasn’t offside. Until the game is over, and you get 3-0 up, you can’t take your foot off the gas. You’ve still got to win tackles and headers.
“That final little bit is the hardest thing to do. You’ve got to get people in the box, in the right positions and making the right runs. The lads did that and have got to carry it on.”
Vale arrived at Bramall above fifth-placed United in the rankings but Wilder added: “Vale are where they are on merit. Results are not given the anyone in this division. Whether a team is above us or below us, we have to approach the games in the right way. It’s that ruthless in both boxes which decides games. I’m not being simplistic about that because we played some really good football in between. But it is.”