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Chris Wilder reveals severity of Middlesbrough absences ahead of Sheffield United clash

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Middlesbrough will head to Bramall Lane on New Year’s Day to take on Sheffield United – but they’ll do it without at least 13 first-team players according to Chris Wilder.

Wilder himself will head back to the Blades for the first time since his departure from his boyhood club in March but his new side have been severely crippled by a bout of COVID-19.

Boro were late winners over Blackpool on Wednesday night but since then the virus has ripped through a large number of the squad, with Wilder confirming that at least nine individuals have contracted it.

That is along with 10 Boro staff members who are also having to isolate, and on top of his nine players there are also four who are suffering from long-term injuries.

Quiz: Can you name which club Middlesbrough signed these 20 strikers from?

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It means that Wilder has a skeleton squad to choose from ahead of the game against Paul Heckingbottom’s side, and he’s had to resort to recalling players back from loan spells to help bolster his choices, with Djed Spence, Lewis Wing and Stephen Walker all coming back from Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Tranmere Rovers respectively.

The Verdict

It sounds like Boro are down to the bare bones and Sheffield United may be able to capitalise on that.

The COVID outbreak has come at a bad time for Middlesbrough, who are on a really positive run of results and they certainly have momentum on their side.

That could be shattered though tomorrow when they head to South Yorkshire and Paul Heckingbottom’s side will already be smelling blood.

The interesting thing for Boro fans though is the likes of Spence and Wing coming back into the mix – Wilder may have wanted to bring them back anyway but his hand has been somewhat forced due to the severity of the situation.


25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Chris Wilder reveals severity of Middlesbrough absences ahead of Sheffield United clash

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