The Championship automatic promotion race saw yet another dramatic twist occur last weekend.
Sheffield United’s 3-2 defeat at home to Bristol City allowed Leeds United to leapfrog them in the league standings whilst Norwich City’s victory at Middlesbrough saw them edge even closer to a return to the Premier League.
The manner of the Blades’ loss would have been a concern to boss Chris Wilder as his side were within 13 minutes of securing victory at Bramall Lane before Andreas Weimann scored twice to complete his hat-trick at the Robins. One of the key reasons for their collapse was the absence of midfielder Mark Duffy who was ruled out of the game after picking an Achilles injury in training (via the Star).
Although he was only expected miss one game, he is now a major doubt for this weekend’s crucial clash against play-off chasing Preston North End with the Blades expected to field Kieran Dowell in his position at Deepdale. Duffy’s impact this season has seen him score five goals and provide five assists for his teammates whilst also developing a fruitful midfield partnership with Oliver Norwood and John Fleck. Giving the fact that he could be missing once again for United, Wilder’s side face an uphill battle to continue their push for a top-two finish.
With the Blades currently two points behind Leeds in the league standings, they cannot afford to drop any more points with just seven games left to play. Therefore, they will be hoping that if Duffy can return against Birmingham City on April 10th if he is not fit enough to play on Saturday.
In a battle for promotion which is undoubtedly going to have an incredible crescendo in the Championship, it will be harsh on Wilder and his players if they miss out in May due to the injuries that they have suffered during the run-in.
What do you think Blades fans? How big of a blow would it be to lose Duffy for Saturday’s game against Preston? Could your promotion hopes be dashed by his absence? Let us know below.