Sheffield United: Manager describes his darkest hour

Nigel Adkins says he will never lose his drive �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved
Nigel Adkins says he will never lose his drive �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

Nigel Adkins has revealed how surviving the darkest moment of his career has equipped him with the drive to transform Sheffield United’s season.

Adkins feared he “was never going to walk again” after suffering a serious back injury as a player with Wigan Athletic.

Nigel Adkins' team faces Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon

Nigel Adkins' team faces Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon

But the former goalkeeper, who started coaching in the Birkenhead Sunday League before taking charge of Bangor City, Scunthorpe and Southampton, fought his way back to fitness and has vowed to show similar tenacity at Bramall Lane where United enter Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Oldham Athletic without a win in their last five outings.

“I haven’t been given anything,” Adkins told The Star. “Everything I’ve got in this game, I’ve earned.

“I started at Renbad Rovers, I was learning all the time and you have to suffer to learn.

“I remember being in a hospital bed worrying that I was never going to walk again, let alone play football, because I’d had a spinal fusion. But I picked myself up and got on with it.

“I’m a football manager and you are never going to have a 100 per cent record. I’m fearless of this challenge, in fact I’m excited by it, thinking about how we can get to where we want to be and overcome the obstacles that are always going to get put in your way.”

United, the pre-season title favourites, have slipped to 12th in the League One table following their recent dip in form. But Adkins, who was appointed manager six months ago, is adamant they can force themselves back into the promotion race.

“Ultimately, it’s my decision that’s final,” he said. “But I’m fortunate to have valued members of staff, people like Andy (Crosby) and Dean (Wilkins) who I respect and listen to.

“What’s our purpose? It’s to win games of football. I’ve been knocked down many, many times. But the people who know me realise that I always get back up.”