Sheffield United have been dealt another injury blow with the news that Oli McBurnie will miss the remainder of the season with a foot fracture.
The 24-year-old striker suffered the injury during the Blades’ 3-0 home defeat to Arsenal last weekend.
The news comes the day after captain Billy Sharp revealed on Instagram he will also not play again this season, after undergoing surgery on a thigh problem sustained in training.
Blades interim boss Paul Heckinbottom said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon: “Oli is out for the season as well.
“He’s got a stress fracture in his fifth metatarsal so we’ve lost two forwards, which isn’t positive.”
Sharp had his operation on Wednesday and Heckingbottom hopes the 35-year-old striker will have recovered in time for pre-season training ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
“His procedure has gone well,” said Heckingbottom. “It’s a tendon issue that required surgery for the best chance of recovery, rather than rest which we were hoping for.
“It’s a blow and a loss because we were hoping we’d have him back for the last few games of the season. But as far as I’m aware, pre-season is the aim.
“The procedure was yesterday and we’ve just had a little bit of an update. I’ve been there as a player and you just want to know what’s next as there’s a real mental side to an injury like that, especially when it’s worse than first feared.
“His presence will be missed, I want every player fit and someone of Sharpy’s experience and his connection with the club, and being club captain, it’s a big loss for us for a lot of reasons – not just on the pitch.
“We seem to get one player back and lose two at the minute but that’s how it is, and it tends to be the way when things aren’t going to your way.”
Heckingbottom also revealed that John Fleck is an injury concern ahead of Saturday’s game against Wolves.
“Flecky hasn’t trained all week – it’s a stiff groin. We will assess him tomorrow so hopefully he’s fine and back in,” said Heckingbottom, who could oversee the club’s inevitable relegation from the Premier League this weekend.
The Blades are bottom of the table and 18 points adrift of safety with seven matches remaining.
Heckingbottom said: “There’s always been an inevitability about it, it’s always been a noose around our necks.
“I wanted to go on as long as we could, I can’t get my head around thinking any other way. In terms of the approach you should have, it shouldn’t be any different. If the worst did happen then these discussions are gone.
“You have to live with it and try and perform. The situation hasn’t changed, we’re not going to change our approach.”