Warnock bemoans Tonge loss
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Neil Warnock believes the loss of Michael Tonge for a month is a massive blow.
Neil Warnock believes the loss of Michael Tonge for a month is a massive blow for Sheffield United.
The 23-year-old midfielder injured his ankle seven minutes into the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea last week and has been ruled out until the start of December at least.
Tonge will miss the trip to Newcastle on Saturday and Warnock has likened the impact of his absence to the effect Michael Owen's injury must have had on The Magpies.
Owen ruptured knee ligaments while playing for England in the World Cup and looks set to miss the entire season.
"England have missed Michael, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and I don't like to see anyone of that quality injured," said Warnock.
"At Newcastle he was their main striker and they are bound to be disappointed - but Michael Tonge is our main man in midfield.
"I'm afraid there is no divine right for anyone to stay fit and although it is difficult to accept as a manager you have to.
"I remember when I was younger it always used to be my best player that got injured and I used to think there was something about me but as you get older you realise that as one goes out another one comes in."
Warnock is also confident that Tonge's return could be fairly straightforward.
"We are hoping it is not as bad as we thought. We feared the worst when the scan came back with the results but the surgeon has seen Michael and they are going to put him in this case for two weeks and he is optimistic.
"Then it would depend on Michael. If everything went well it will be four weeks, maybe five."
Sheffield United are currently languishing in the bottom three of The Premiership but Warnock believes his team could quite easily be placed higher.
"I think we have to be a bit more positive and we have to take our opportunities," he urged.
"You don't get too many penalties in the Premier League and we have managed to miss three so far.
"We have to put pressure on teams. So far we have not been able to score a goal let alone a win away from home and that has disappointed me because we have had loads of opportunities.
"Hopefully these chances will start going away. If not obviously some of these players are not good enough.
"We are enjoying it (The Premiership) but we can enjoy it more by getting decent results."