Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has paid tribute to Jay McEveley’s character after revealing the centre-half is ready to push himself through the pain-barrier at Walsall tonight, writes James Shield.
With the visitors’ defence savaged by injury and suspension, McEveley yesterday declared himself available for selection despite a shoulder complaint which, in normal circumstances would require immediate treatment.
Clough told The Star: “When you see what Jay is prepared to do for this football club, to really put himself through it and put his body on the line, well, he deserves the utmost credit.
“That’s exactly the type of spirit and attitude you want to see from a player. It also shows why we brought him here in the first place.
“He came in late, when the season had already started, and barring one blip has been pretty much excellent throughout his time here.”
With Chris Basham serving the second game of a two match ban and Terry Kennedy nursing a shoulder problem, McEveley is again expected to partner full-back John Brayford at the heart of United’s rearguard.
Clough added: “Jay will probably require an injection and, at some point, it might become just too sore for him to be involved.
“It might also be the case that we look at an operation to strengthen the joint in the summer. It’s an issue he’s had before and, although we don’t think he needs it, if the specialist thinks it will do some good then it’s something we’d obviously consider.”
United, fifth in the table following Saturday’s draw at Scunthorpe, will also be missing Ryan Flynn, Michael Higdon and James Wallace at the Bescot Stadium. Stefan Scougall resumed training yesterday but is unlikely to feature while a decision is set to be taken on goalkeeper Mark Howard’s involvement this morning.
Walsall, who face Bristol City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final on Sunday, are 16th and Clough said: “It’s always a difficult place to go because they’re a good team and very resolute.
“Hopefully they’ll have one eye on Wembley but, with the position they’re in, I’m sure they’ll still be chasing results and trying to finish as high as they can.”
“With us, it’s just the small details,” Clough added. “That’s what we’ve got to take care of because, in the grand scheme, we’re inches away.”