Adkins: We’ll bounce back if we’re United

Returning defender Bob Harris tussles with Crewe goalscorer Ryan Colclough at Gresty Road on Saturday
Returning defender Bob Harris tussles with Crewe goalscorer Ryan Colclough at Gresty Road on Saturday

As a man who endavours to learn the names of all his staff, and who kitted Sheffield United’s players out in smart suits before the start of the season, Nigel Adkins is big on the idea of team unity.

So it comes as no surprise to hear the Blades boss insist that sticking together is the key to ending the current slump threatening to engulf Bramall Lane.

Be United in name and nature.

“We have to go again,” said Adkins, speaking after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Crewe Alexandra - a result which saw them slip to eighth in the table, and fall eight points behind second-placed Burton Albion.

“For whatever reason, we haven’t reached the heights of the expectation here, which are quite right, for the past few seasons.

“We’ve got to put ourselves in a position whereby we can make that happen.

“Yes, we have to graft and grind but we have to impose ourselves, too.

“We made several changes; we brought back Bob Harris after a long time out, and he did ever so well to last 90 minutes. Ryan Flynn came in at right back, and we had Paul Coutts and Dean Hammond in the centre of midfield for the first time.

“But we’ve got to find a way to achieve winning football the way I want to do it; we have to stay resolute.

“I am a resilient character myself, but it’s about the attention to detail and fine margins. Players are maybe at this level for a reason.

“There are many aspects of how to act as a professional footballer and everyone has got to keep working very hard at that, to get themselves to the next level.

“We need to be a resolute unit as a club. Yes, it starts with the players but we need everyone to stick together.

“At the moment, it’s going against us and we’ve got to work very, very hard to turn it around.”

Adkins’ men will look to bounce back from their disappointment this weekend, when they host Worcester City at Bramall Lane in the FA Cup first round.

“I made changes at Crewe, and we have a lot of players in the squad,” the former Scunthorpe and Southampton chief added.

“I highlighted last week that we had 26 outfield players in training, which is a lot of bodies.

“But we’ve been very fragmented so far; I’d like to have kept the same team throughout the season but, for one reason or another, I’ve not been able to do that.

“It’s about staying in the race until January, and then making a push from there. As I’ve highlighted before.

“We have two cup games now [United face Fleetwood in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy next Tuesday evening] and although the league is, and will remain, our priority, the importance of winning games in the cup is there for all to see.”