Blades to go back to basics

Sheffield United have been told that going back to basics will help them realise their potential.

Nigel Adkins, the League One club’s manager, made the claim after insisting the knowledge his staff accumulated during previous promotion winning campaigns could prove crucial when this season’s race for the Championship enters its decisive phase.

“It’s doing the basics well, which is what we keep talking about,” he said. “When we went up at Scunthorpe, Billy Sharp scored 30 goals for us and Andy Crosby was centre-half. We experienced the Championship and then the following year, we got to the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and went up via the play-offs.

“That was four weeks after the JPT Trophy final. To keep everyone going, to keep everyone together and have the resilience was demonstrated to all.”

Crosby, who was appointed United’s assistant manager when Adkins took charge earlier this year, was also a member of Southampton’s coaching staff when the 50-year-old delivered Premier League football to St Mary’s. Sharp embarked upon his third spell at Bramall Lane after leaving Leeds in July and has scored seven goals since.

“We had a spirit and could score goals,” Adkins said. “We can score goals here, as we have shown, too.

“We had a spirit to keep going against all adversity. No matter what was thrown at us, we kept on grinding through and that’s what we will do right now. That outlook is vital. That spirit, that determination and desire.”

United, in eighth, visit third-placed Walsall on Saturday searching for their first league win since beating Fleetwood Town 3-0 last month.

“When things aren’t going as well as you’d like, that’s when you find out most about the people around you,” Adkins said. “And, from our perspective, we can see that the players are showing that fight and grit you need. Keep doing that and things turn.”