Striker Ched Evans is a major doubt for Sheffield United's vital clash with Middlesbrough.

The Welshman is suffering from a knee injury and was substituted in the 3-0 defeat at QPR.

Defender Shane Lowry is nearing a return to fitness after missing the Loftus Road defeat with a knee problem.

But Lee Williamson will definitely miss out through suspension as he serves the second match of his four-game ban.

Three players left Bramall Lane on Thursday, with Richard Wright and Stephen Jordan having their contracts terminated by mutual consent and loanee Jean Calve returning to parent club AS Nancy.

United's survival hopes are hanging by a thread, with the club seven points adrift of safety with just seven games to go.

Middlesbrough midfielder Nicky Bailey could return to the squad.

The former Charlton player missed last Saturday's 3-3 draw with Leicester because of a groin injury but has returned to training and is in with a chance.

However, Scotland international Barry Robson is likely to sit out once again with a hamstring problem.

Willo Flood is unlikely to be risked at Bramall Lane as he continues his recovery from the dislocated kneecap he suffered on the opening day of the campaign, although manager Tony Mowbray is confident he could be as little as a week away after getting two reserve team outings under his belt.

Defender Matthew Bates could return to contention for the first time since suffering a hamstring tear at the beginning of February but Kevin Thomson (hairline leg fracture), Jonathan Franks (ankle), Leroy Lita (hamstring) and Jason Steele (torn side muscle) remain on the sidelines.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Jason Steele
Football
Richard Wright
Nicky Bailey
Championship
Stephen Jordan
Jonathan Franks
Shane Lowry
Jonathan Franks
Lee Williamson
Willo Flood
Sheffield United
Matthew Bates
Middlesbrough
Kevin Thomson
Leroy Lita
Matthew Bates
Ched Evans
Barry Robson