Chris Basham has revealed the measures his team mate David Brooks is taking to ensure he can help Sheffield United’s push for the Championship play-offs.
Brooks, the Wales international, scored his first goal since recovering from a bout of glandular fever against Burton Albion on Tuesday night.
Speaking after the 2-0 win, which lifted Chris Wilder’s side to seventh in the table, Basham described the youngster’s return as a “big” moment in United’s season. But, given the nature of his illness, the midfielder explained Brooks is still being forced to take precautions despite receiving the all-clear from Bramall Lane’s medical staff.
“He has his own bottles of water because no-one wants to touch anything of his,” Basham said. “It was great for Brooksy to score. He started the season so well but then got the illness.
“I sit next to him in the dressing room and he is more frustrated than anyone. People come up and ask if he is all right. He wants to say ‘yes’ but he isn’t 100 per cent. That is dead frustrating for him. But the only place to do it right is on the pitch and he’s doing that.”
United will enter this weekend’s game against Nottingham Forest knowing a win could see them climb above sixth-placed Middlesbrough with only eight matches of the regular campaign remaining.
With a host of top-flight clubs monitoring Brooks’ progress, Wilder acknowledged the 20-year-old’s recent health issues had been a “huge loss” to United’s first team squad.
Echoing the manager’s sentiment, Basham said: “Hopefully, he can come into his own over the next nine games. You can see how big he is in terms of the impact he can make. He gives everyone a lift just with a touch of the ball. “You need players who can turn a game. We saw that for ourselves against Fulham the other week.
“They played really well but the big thing was having (Aleksander) Mitrovic to put the ball in the back of the net. He has been that for the last few games.”
“To have someone who can make an impact at the right moment by scoring goals in invaluable,” Basham added. “Sharpy (Billy Sharp), (Mark) Duffy and Brooksy are big players for us.
“It was great for Brooksy to score ahead of the weekend game. He started the season so well but then got the illness.”