Adkins’ challenge to Blades

Nigel Adkins
Nigel Adkins

Manager Nigel Adkins has challenged Sheffield United’s players to force their way into his starting eleven for the first game of the League One season on August 8.

Adkins’ side kick off their promotion campaign with a trip to Gillingham on the first day of the season, and the new United boss insists he has not yet made any decisions regarding his team selection.

The former Scunthorpe and Southampton boss saw his squad in action for the first time on Saturday, as they beat Ilkeston 1-0, and pre-season preparations continue tonight at Cheltenham Town (7.45pm kick off).

And Adkins, who continues to be linked with a move for Leeds United striker Billy Sharp, said: “I have no team in my mind yet. It’s too early for that.

“What we’re doing instead, is giving players opportunities and chances in their preferred positions. We’ll build from there.”

“There will always be speculation in a transfer window,” the United boss, who managed Sharp at Scunthorpe, Southampton and Reading, added.

“We’re building a squad and the players have worked hard with a good honesty.

“There’s a positive atmosphere amongst the players and around the club, so we’re looking to build on that.

“Billy is a Leeds United player and, at the minute, I’m going to concentrate on players who play for Sheffield United.”