Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough expects to be without the services of Ryan Flynn for the next fortnight, after the winger damaged a hamstring in Tuesday night’s home defeat at the hands of Peterborough.
Flynn was forced to complete the game as a forlorn frontman as Clough had made all three of his allotted substitutes, in an attempt to win the game.
They were minutes from doing so, thanks to Matt Done’s clever header, but goals in the 88th and 90th minute, from Jack Payne and Connor Washington, turned the game on its head and consigned them to defeat.
And Clough’s misery will be compounded this week when Flynn’s injury is assessed, ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Fleetwood Town.
Privately Clough, who has only recently welcomed the Scottish winger back from an Achilles problem, expects to be without Flynn for a couple of weeks; but is hoping for better news on fellow injured players Terry Kennedy [knee] and Mark Howard [back].
Clough has also warned his players that, in order to reach the Championship, they must be able to see out games - especially when they’re leading 1-0, at home, with just two minutes to go.
“It’s a feeling of disappointment,” Clough said.
“We’ve benefited from so many late goals ourselves and we’ve been on the receiving end against Peterborough.
“Even though we were effectively playing with 10 men, we should have seen the game out from the 88th minute.
“We’ve done that pretty well at times this season, even with 10 men on occasion, so we should have done better.”
“They were very poor goals to concede,” Clough added, “from our point of view.
“Iain [Turner, goalkeeper] was unsighted for their first but the second was very poor, especially because there were three defenders who had a chance to clear the ball and didn’t.
“Peterborough were putting a little bit of pressure on us but you have to get out and block the shots.
“But at least we aren’t much worse off.
“And at least there’s not long before the next game.”
United missed the chance to claw back some ground on second-placed Preston, who lead them by ten points after Jermaine Beckford’s injury-time strike rescued a point against Doncaster.
Chesterfield, a place outside the play-off spots in seventh, only trail United by four points and Clough added: “We’re disappointed in the dressing room but we’ve got the chance to quickly pick ourselves up.
“Tonight should have been a game and a couple of points on Preston.
“But we go again on Saturday.”