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Blades ease Mick worry over enda

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WORRY: Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens (left) in action against Norwich’s Kenny McLean. Pic: PA

WORRY: Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens (left) in action against Norwich’s Kenny McLean. Pic: PA

PA

WORRY: Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens (left) in action against Norwich’s Kenny McLean. Pic: PA

Sheffield United have eased Mick McCarthy's fears over the fitness of defender Enda Stevens by claiming that the Dubliner should recover from injury this week.

With Seamus Coleman already ruled out of the Euro 2020 play-off in Slovakia and Darren Randolph spending another day on the bench for West Ham, McCarthy had more worries when Stevens, his first-choice left back, was substituted with half an hour to play in the Blades' 1-0 win over Norwich City.

It was feared that Stevens has suffered a recurrence of the calf strain which forced him to miss two games last month.

But manager Chris Wilder revealed that taking off Stevens was a precautionary measure as the former Shamrock Rovers man can sometimes have an issue with the hybrid playing surface at Bramall Lane

"Enda has a tight calf, it was just a precaution. The Desso pitch has been brilliant but it can be quite firm. He just felt a bit tight. He's not pulled anything," Wilder said.

Stevens will be sent for treatment this week and his club boss hopes to have him back for Saturday's trip to Newcastle

"He's not out two to four weeks. We're not talking about a grade one, two or whatever else the physio's language is, or anything like that. He just told us it felt tight."

Cyrus Christie, a regular at left back under Martin O'Neill but who has yet to feature in Mick McCarthy's reign, could get a recall as McCarthy name-checked the Fulham player recently, but the injury to Coleman and the doubt over Stevens could open a door for the uncapped Ryan Manning.

He has been in a provisional senior squad but not the travelling party and he has been in form of late at left back, scoring for QPR in their weekend win over Preston.

Scott Hogan has also strengthened his case for a starting role in Bratislava from week to week, the striker on target again for Birmingham City in Saturday's 3-1 loss at home to Reading.

Hogan, yet to score at senior level, has scored seven goals in nine games for Birmingham City since joining them on loan last month.

Meanwhile, the Ireland senior women's side have agreed a friendly away to Serbia next month as part of their plans for Euro 2021 qualification.

Vera Pauw's squad, now en route to Montenegro for Wednesday's Group I qualifier, play away to Germany on April 11 but will follow that up with a friendly in Serbia three days later.

A win in Montenegro this week would put Ireland on top of the group table.