Sheffield United's Anel Ahmedhodzic on verge of return from thigh injury

Anel Ahmedhodzic will miss Sheffield United's game at home to Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday but could be back ahead of schedule at the weekend.

The centre-back's club manager, Paul Heckingbottom was unhappy with the Bosnia and Herzegovina federation revealing the injury which kept him out of September's Nations League games, and particularly the minimum four-week timescale they put on his thigh problem.

He now looks set to return within three, with the Blades at Stoke City on Saturday.

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“There’s the potential there, for Anel to be available at the weekend,” said Heckingbottom. “We’ll see what the situation is. We’re happy with where he’s at. He’s happy with where he’s at.

PROGRESSING: Sheffield United's Bosnia centre-back Anel AhmedhodzicPROGRESSING: Sheffield United's Bosnia centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic
PROGRESSING: Sheffield United's Bosnia centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic

“We won’t take any risks whatsoever with him. It’s a muscle thing, and you know with those if you do that, they only get worse.”

The £3m summer signing has been outstanding since joining from Malmo, and the Blades are light on defenders, particularly on the left side, with forward Reda Khadra used out of position at wing-back in the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City.

Ahmedhodzic is naturally right-footed, but comfortable on the left of a back three.

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Heckingbottom was full of praise for German Under-21 international Khadra's selflessness.

“He deserved credit for doing that for the team,” said the manager. “It’s not his natural position. He performed a role for the team. He knows that. I know that.

"We just are trying to encourage him to be more positive when he is in those positions, because we don’t want him playing as a left-back.

“Players know what their best positions are but they’re happy to do something else. I think that’s why we’ve had such a strong start.

"Reda put the team first and people appreciate that.”

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QPR are fifth in the table the Blades sit top of, and Heckingbottom is impressed at how Michael Beale has taken to management after stepping up from working with Steven Gerrard.

“I can see traits from Liverpool to Rangers, things I saw when I was at Hibernian and Michael was there at Ibrox,” he said. “He’s getting his ideas across and he’s got some really talented players.”