Sheffield United: ‘Dangerous’ Baptiste can be a hit for Blades

Alex Baptiste of Sheffield Utd in action at Fleetwood
Alex Baptiste of Sheffield Utd in action at Fleetwood

His last senior appearance lasted just 22 minutes before he was stretchered off, with a double fracture of his leg.

The physical and, presumably, mental scars have healed for Alex Baptiste, Sheffield United’s signing who suffered the horiffic injury on his debut for Middlesbrough at York City.

And Nigel Adkins was suitably impressed with the 30-year-old after his 90-minute stint at Fleetwood on Saturday.

“Alex is a good player,” Adkins said, after his side drew 2-2 thanks to a last-minute Che Adams penalty.

“He showed out there that he can defend, and he was a threat at the other end, too; he had a couple of chances cleared off the line, and looked dangerous from our set-plays.

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“Alex is quick, too, and fits in well with the three-at-the-back system we want to play. He allows us to play out from the back and he’ll be vital for us as we look to win games.

“We think this is an attack-minded system - Matt Done at left wingback has the freedom to bomb forward and give us width - and on another day, we’d have won at Fleetwood.

“We created a lot of opportunities and we have to keep the belief that we’re doing the right things, to get us to where we want to be.”

Baptiste, the former Bolton defender, is scheduled to spend the rest of the campaign at Bramall Lane but promotion-chasing ‘Boro have the option to recall him after 28 days.

If they don’t, he will be eligible for any potential play-off campaign... but with United trailing sixth-placed Barnsley by six points, with 11 games to go, their time is slowly running out.

Adkins hopes to add a loan winger to his roster before this weekend’s clash with Oldham at Bramall Lane, and hopes to have top scorer Billy Sharp available again. The striker missed out at Fleetwood due to illness.

“We’re suffering from injuries and illnesses, but all clubs will be going through that at this stage,” Adkins added.

“We had two young lads, Che and Dom Calvert-Lewin, upfront at Fleetwood, and they’ll get better. Dom was struggling with a knock, Flo Cuvelier felt his hamstring. These things arise during games, and during seasons, and you just have to get on with it.”