Sheffield United: Boss admits Blades paid a heavy price

Nigel Adkins says several players are being nursed through training at the Redtooth Academy � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
Nigel Adkins says several players are being nursed through training at the Redtooth Academy � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
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Nigel Adkins has laid bare the toll last season’s campaign took upon Sheffield United’s first team squad after confirming that Ryan Flynn, the former Scotland under-21 international, is among several key performers still recovering from injury, writes James Shield.

The League One club contested a gruelling 63 games as they reached the semi-finals of both the play-offs and Capital One Cup.

Nigel Adkins addresses his players during pre-season training � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Nigel Adkins addresses his players during pre-season training � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Adkins, who was appointed as Nigel Clough’s successor five weeks ago, revealed Flynn and Terry Kennedy are both being nursed through United’s preparations for next term which begin in earnest with a friendly against Ilkeston in 10 days time.

“We are also carrying a few niggles,” Adkins said. “They come back into it.

“Flynn, for instance, has not been able to train with us yet because of an Achilles injury he had last season.

“So, we are having to manage that. It is just one example.

Michael Higdon is put through his paces at the Redtooth Academy � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Michael Higdon is put through his paces at the Redtooth Academy � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

“There is also (John) Brayford in a brace, Kennedy is recovering from a knee injury.

“Then, we also have four or five carrying niggles from last season. We will get them right.”

Brayford, a £1.5m signing from Cardiff City, is expected to be absent until November after damaging knee ligaments during the closing stages of United’s bid to reach the Championship while Matt Done, another recent recruit, was troubled by an ankle complaint.

Kennedy’s career has been punctuated by fitness problems but, with Adkins acknowledging that United need to improve defensively in order to sustain a challenge for automatic promotion, the youngster will be keen to prove his worth before August 8th’s curtainraiser against Gillingham.

Nigel Adkins is pleased with the response of Sheffield United's first team squad since his appointment last month � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Nigel Adkins is pleased with the response of Sheffield United's first team squad since his appointment last month � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Michael Higdon, meanwhile, is reporting no ill-effects after a troublesome hamstring problem curtailed his debut season in United colours.

Although Adkins is poised to enter the transfer market, speaking at the Redtooth Academy yesterday he suggested activity would be limited until ever option at his disposal had been fully assessed.

“I don’t want to divulge their names (of those injured) but everyone is showing a fantastic honesty,” Adkins said.

“There is a good camaraderie and that comes off being together for quite some time. It gives us a head start from my point of view.”

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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