Nigel Clough has rubbished suggestions that James Wallace should leave Bramall Lane on loan in order to improve his fitness, writes James Shield.
The Sheffield United midfielder is set to miss tomorrow’s League One encounter at MK Dons after suffering a fresh injury set-back during Monday’s under-21 fixture with Coventry City.
Wallace has missed over 20 games since arriving from Tranmere Rovers last year but Clough, the United manager, dismissed claims he should be nursed back to health elsewhere before returning to his parent club’s squad.
“James is too important a player for us to consider doing that,” Clough said. “That’s not even on the agenda.
“He’ll be staying here with us and getting himself into shape with us. James is working hard to get back out there.”
Wallace has seen his progress stunted by a succession of unrelated complaints after recovering from a serious knee injury sustained in December 2013. Investigations suggest the player is suffering from what Clough described earlier this week as “a whole lot of bad luck” rather than a brittle body.
However, although that prognosis will serve as some encouragement, coaching staff acknowledge the 23-year-old mental strength is being sorely tested.
“James is a strong character and that’s good because he’s going to have to be,” Clough said. “But, like we’ve said before, we’ll look after him and make sure he gets back as soon as possible.”
“We don’t think it’s anything too serious,” Clough added. “And that’s good because James has shown what a quality player he is.
“That’s why we brought him here and that’s why we know he’s going to be such a huge asset to this football club. Because of the strengths and ability he’s already shown this season, especially of late.”
Meanwhile, Clough has revealed Stephen McGinn and Neill Collins have both been the subject of enquiries from clubs interested in signing them on loan but said “concrete approaches” are yet to be received.