Former Preston North End defender set to miss his Deepdale return with Sheffield United

Preston North End and Sheffield United will get to meet at Deepdale tonight more than three weeks behind schedule.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:30 pm

This clash was due to be played on Boxing Day but Covid cases within the Lilywhites’ squad saw it postponed.

For the Blades, it was one of four games which fell victim to the virus in the space of a month.

On all four occasions it was the opposition who had to seek the postponement and naturally that led to a great deal of frustration in the United camp.

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Stuart McCall stood in for Paul Heckingbottom for Sheffield United's defeat at Derby on Saturday

Their visit to QPR on December 12 was the first cancellation.

Then after winning 1-0 at Fulham on December 20, they didn’t play again until the FA Cup exit to Wolves a week last Sunday.

On Saturday, they were beaten 2-0 at Derby in the Championship.

That was a game which Blades manager Paul Heckingbottom missed after he tested positive for Covid.

He will be back on duty at Deepdale after a spell of self-isolation.

His No.2 Stuart McCall was in charge for the Derby defeat and didn’t want to use a lack of match action recently as an excuse.

McCall said: “If we were a little bit rusty we can’t be rusty on Tuesday night at Preston. There’s no excuse.

“There’s no excuses, 100% on Tuesday night not to go in and out in a totally committed performance.”

The Blades will be without former PNE defender Ben Davies who is on loan from Liverpool.

Heckingbottom revealed that Davies had returned a positive Covid test having recently returned to training after a spell out.

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