Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic has revealed French forward Lys Mousset could be available for the Blades in time for their clash against AFC Bournemouth at the weekend, speaking in his pre-match conference this afternoon to The Star.
The 25-year-old finally returned to training a few days ago after suffering a severe hamstring injury against Birmingham City on the opening day of the season, in what was a huge blow for the Serbian manager who was impressed with his performances in pre-season and started him in that tie against the Blues.
Jokanovic’s side struggled in their opening five league games of the 2021/22 season, but this wasn’t a reflection of Billy Sharp’s performances, with the 35-year-old stepping up well in the absence of the Frenchman and recording an impressive six goal contributions in ten Championship displays.
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Despite this, the added competition up front with David McGoldrick, Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster as other options up top can only be a benefit to the Blades, who will be desperate to get back on track after their 2-0 away defeat against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
A potential boost could be on the way though, with manager Jokanovic saying on Mousset: “Lys started working a few days ago and is an option to be ready for the game.
“It’s always good when someone is coming back from this kind of situation, and good for him as well that I have the option to use him for the next game.
“We know him from before too, he came back a few days ago and has an option to be part of the team for the next game.
“He is a guy with good movement, he could be an important player and we’ll see what choices we make for the game.”
Mousset joined from this weekend’s opponents Bournemouth in 2019 for a then club-record £10m fee, scoring six times and grabbing four assists in 30 top-flight appearances during his first season in South Yorkshire before failing to find the back of the net in 11 Premier League displays last term.
However, with a new manager, a new style of play and a new division to compete in, the 25-year-old will be hoping to make a real impact for the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign.
From what Slavisa Jokanovic saw of Mousset in pre-season, the Serbian seemed to like him so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him heavily involved for the second-tier outfit if he can maintain his consistency and continue to impress in training.
On paper, many people would have been expecting the likes of McBurnie and Brewster to be challenging him for a first-team spot, but it’s Sharp who could be his main competitor after re-establishing himself as a reliable figure on the pitch for the Blades as well as off it.
The 25-year-old’s availability for this game could be a curse though. Jokanovic may be tempted to use him off the bench after being without him for so long, but there’s another international break coming up after this weekend and it wouldn’t do any harm for the forward to have that extra week to recover.
Risking an injury now would be nonsensical, so if he isn’t fully fit and ready to go, the Blades shouldn’t even put him on the bench for this game. Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster, despite their struggles, should be a threat at the Vitality Stadium if needed off the bench ahead of what could be an important tie.
His availability is good news though – and should give them something extra going into their next set of fixtures after the interval. After midweek, a boost like this was very much needed.