Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has admitted it will be a huge blow if Terry Kennedy is ruled-out of action for the rest of the season, writes James Shield.
The centre-half failed to reappear for the second-half of Saturday’s draw with Bradford City due to a knee problem which, after being plagued by similar issues through his career, raised fears another extended spell in the treatment room could beckon.
Clough said: “Terry’s knee was sore. We haven’t got any centre halves and his aerial prowess is his strongest point.
“When you lose him and have (James) Hanson and (Jon) Stead to deal with, it can be difficult.
“It was a blow but I thought Craig Alcock did well when he came on at left back. He made one very brave header in particular.”
United will reach the League One play-offs if Rochdale fail to beat Leyton Orient at Spotland tonight. But, as Clough alluded, losing Kennedy for a prolonged period of time would change the dynamic of a back four which has already undergone considerable disruption this term.
Concerns about the youngster’s availability - he missed the trip to Yeovil Town seven days ago due to a groin complaint - also explains why coaching staff have been reluctant to hurry Jay McEveley back into action following a dislocated shoulder.
McEveley, one of the most experienced defenders at Clough’s disposal, has not started a match since March 17 when he required pain-killing injections to face Walsall.
The two formed an effective partnership, underlined by their performance during the FA Cup victory over Queens Park Rangers, earlier this term which, if resurrected, would allow Chris Basham to be deployed into midfield.
“Terry might not be the tallest centre-half out there but he’s what you would call a proper centre-half,” Clough added. “He contests absolutely every single ball and he’s got a good leap on him too.
“That’s one of the reasons why we like him. It’s that edge, a good edge, he’s got.”