United boss backs Wallace to return stronger after latest injury blow

James Wallace
James Wallace

Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, last night dismissed claims that James Wallace’s fitness record since arriving at Bramall Lane is a cause for concern after acknowledging the former Tranmere Rovers midfielder is expected to be absent for “another couple of weeks.”

Wallace has been plagued by a series of niggling problems during his spell in South Yorkshire with a muscle problem, sustained during last month’s victory over Doncaster Rovers, the latest addition to a growing list of complaints.

But Clough told The Star: “Hopefully the rest, albeit it’s one that’s enforced, will do James the world of good. It could be exactly what he needs. That’s the plan anyway.

“Of course it’s frustrating, not least for the lad himself, but we can use this time to make sure he’s exactly right, fully fit and in the best possible shape.

“The biggest plus for us is that., when James has played, he’s shown why we were so keen to bring him here. He’s shown everyone that he’s a quality player.

“The other thing James is is wholehearted. He goes in for every single challenge with everything he’s got and that’s a great attribute to have.

“Michael Doyle is a leader for us in the middle and James is the same too.”

Wallace, who missed Friday’s game against Notts County, will again be watching from the stands when MK Dons visit United tomorrow night.

“Because James spent a long time out with a serious knee injury at Tranmere, we always suspected this would be the case,” Clough added. “It’s not a surprise in that regard, especially as his pre-season was pretty stop-start.

“But we can use this time wisely and make sure that when he does come back, hopefully before or over the Christmas period, he’s raring to go.”