By Wayne Veysey

28th Sep, 2020 | 4:12pm

Exclusive: Big, surprise Sheffield United injury update

Sheffield United defender Jack O’Connell is optimistic he will not miss the rest of the season after suffering a devastating knee injury, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

The 26-year-old missed yesterday’s 1-0 loss at home to Leeds United as Chris Wilder’s side suffered their third straight defeat in the Premier League.

Prior to kickoff, the club announced that the Liverpool-born defender would require surgery on a knee injury.

After the loss Wilder revealed the extent of the injury: “Jack O’Connell is possibly out for the season. He will have an operation on Wednesday and we are looking at six months minimum.”

However, a source at Bramall Lane has told Football Insider in a surprise update that the player hopes to only be sidelined for three to four months.

It would be a huge boost for United if the centre-half returns by the turn of the year with initial fears he would be sidelined for a minimum of six months and possibly the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign.

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O’Connell has been integral to a Blades side that achieved promotion from the Championship in 2018/19 and the club’s highest ever Premier League finish last season.

He made 33 league appearances last term in a Sheffield United defence that boasted the fourth best defensive record in the division.

Only Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, who all finished in the top three,  conceded less than the Yorkshire club.

O’Connell, who arrived from Brentford in 2016, has three years remaining on his contract at Bramall Lane having signed a new deal last year.

Wilder, as quoted by Sky Sports, wants to add a new centre-half to his ranks in light of the injury to O’Connell and has “spoken to the owners” about a couple of targets that he has identified.

In other Sheffield United news, Jurgen Klopp’s stance on selling Rhian Brewster can be REVEALED after Blades table bid.