Newcastle could face a short-handed Sheffield United on Sunday

Sheffield United will be hoping that two key players can suit up at Newcastle United on Sunday.

As Newcastle United are awaiting their first match back during Project Restart, their opponent has already played one match. Sheffield United faced off with Aston Villa midweek without two key players, due to injury.

Midfielder John Fleck and defender Jack O’Connell missed out on the Blades’ 0-0 draw vs. Villa on Wednesday. Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is hopeful that both players could return when his side faces Newcastle United away from home.

Fleck and O’Connell are not just two rotational players for the Blades, but they are both actually key figures for the most surprising club in the Premier League. On the backline, O’Connell has played in 28 EPL matches and has 127 clearances, one assist, and 104 accurate long balls. Fleck, on the other hand, has five goals and two assists from the midfield. He’s played in 25 EPL matches and has created five big chances.

Fleck was injured in the club’s friendly vs. Hull City before the return to Premier League play. For O’Connell, his knock came in training on Monday, according to Wilder.

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Now, both are working to return to full fitness to face the Magpies. Fleck seems to be the most likely of the two to play on Sunday, but it’s possible that both of them could appear. The pair each played the full 90 minutes at Bramall Lane in Newcastle’s 2-0 win in December.

It would be a big boost for Newcastle United if neither play is able to suit up for Sheffield United on Sunday at St. James’ Park.