Sheffield United have been dealt another injury blow with the news that John Egan will be out for around eight weeks with a dislocated toe.
The 28-year-old defender was carried off on a stretcher late on in the defeat at West Ham on Monday evening, after hurting himself in a collision with Jesse Lingard.
Blades boss Chris Wilder provided an update on Egan ahead of his side’s Premier League game at Fulham on Saturday.
“John Egan is going to be out for eight weeks. He needs an operation on a dislocated toe,” said Wilder.
“It’s a situation where John has gone to block a shot and when we saw the reaction of a committed, brave player, straightaway we all knew he was in trouble.
“It’s a big blow to lose him for eight weeks. I do feel we’ve been cursed with injuries. We’ve had big injuries that have hurt us.”
To coin a horse racing phrase, Fulham are best fresh.
When they’ve been given eight days or more between matches, they’ve picked up impressive victories at Leicester and Everton.
However, results dip when the schedule catches up with them, as seen by their limp showing in the 1-1 draw with Burnley on Wednesday. A third game in six days will be a tough ask and their continued flaky levels can be seized upon by the battling Blades, who have been well found in the market for this one with only 5/2 available on the away win. I thought they’d be bigger but I’m happy to put faith in them.
A better angle to attack actually lies in the offside markets. Now, certain teams like the Blades are always worth a look in the offside markets when facing Fulham. Only Liverpool have caught more players offside this season than Fulham (61) with Burnley falling foul of their offside trap six times in the 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
This weekend’s opponents like to work the space in behind defences through their marauding wide players and aren’t afraid to go long straight into their front men, hence more likely opportunities to be caught offside. Only Manchester United, Burnley, Southampton and West Ham have been caught offside more this season than the Blades (48).
In the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder’s men were caught offside five times against Fulham as they gave the Fulham back five a good workout with their clever movement down the channels.
I’d expect similar numbers for this weekend’s meeting, especially as both teams will be going for maximum points and there should be plenty of opportunities for the Blades to break. Punters should be pointed towards the very generous 10/11 for three or more offsides. As short prices go, it’s one of the most tempting ones I’ve seen all season, especially if Billy Sharp keeps his place in attack. He gets caught offside 1.4 times per-game.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1