With five minutes left to play of regular time on Saturday, Sheffield United looked almost certain to be heading two points clear of Leeds United in the Championship standings.
After dominating their game against Millwall, Gary Madine scored the all-important opener for the Blades in the second-half before the drama began to unfold at Bramall Lane.
Following an impressive save from Dean Henderson, Lions full-back Shane Ferguson delivered a superb cross to Tom Elliot whose header was destined for the top corner before John Egan decided to handle the ball on the goal-line. The defender’s decision not only resulted in a penalty to Millwall but it also saw him receive a straight red card, meaning that he will miss the Blades’ next three fixtures in the league.
Although Ben Marshall would end up missing the spot-kick for the visitors, a 95th-minute equaliser from Jake Cooper secured an unlikely point for the London-based side. By failing to secure a victory from a winning position for the second game in succession, the Blades moved further adrift of Leeds in the standings and therefore will now have to rely on results elsewhere if they are to finish in the top-two.
However, even if the Whites do slip up in their final four fixtures, there is no guarantee that Chris Wilder’s side will capitalise between now and May, especially when you consider that they will have to play the likes of Nottingham Forest, Hull City and Ipswich Town without the influential Egan. Alongside Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell, the 26-year-old has emerged as a key player in the heart of United’s defence since joining in 2018 from Brentford and so will undoubtedly be a huge miss over the next two weeks.
Although it is not entirely out of the question that the Blades could secure promotion without him, a suspension at this time of the season could be disastrous, especially when you consider that Wilder’s side’s hopes are already hanging by a thread.
What do you think United fans? How much of a miss will Egan be over the next two weeks? Who would you like to see replace the Irish defender in the starting eleven? Let us know below.
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