Sheffield United: Adkins could consider free agents to get promotion push back on track

Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins.Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins.
Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins.
Sheffield United may explore the possibility of signing out-of-contract players to boost their faltering promotion push this month, manager Nigel Adkins has revealed.

Adkins made the admission after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Wigan, which left United 11th in League One and five points off the play-offs.

After their deadline-day attempts to sign Dan Burn from Fulham were thwarted, Adkins says United will try again when the emergency loan window opens but added: “There are also plenty of other options.

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“Players who aren’t under contract could sign as free agents... a lot of players ended up leaving their clubs on the last day of the transfer window, after their contracts were terminated.

“But we’ve said before, we need players who will come in and make the difference straightaway... we have 17 games to go. We have a lot of bodies here, so it’s not about that.”

A debut goal from Everton loanee Conor McAleny and a penalty from Will Grigg, who later saw a second spot-kick saved by George Long, proved the difference between United and Wigan, who moved to third.

“We have to look at the players and make sure they’re working hard,” Adkins added.

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“We look solid in the middle of the park but we need a bit of creativity sometimes, which is why we try to get talented players like Paul Coutts and Jose Baxter on the ball as often as we can.

“But they’ve got to do the other side of it, too. It’s about getting the balance between creativity and steel, and that’s something we’ve got to keep improving on.”