Baxter set for return, as Nigel sees bigger picture

Sheffield United's Jose Baxter
Sheffield United's Jose Baxter

Jose Baxter could return for Sheffield United’s trip to Port Vale this weekend, manager Nigel Adkins has revealed.

Baxter, along with Che Adams, was a notable absentee from United’s teamsheet on Tuesday night, when they drew 0-0 at league leaders Burton Albion.

Adkins later revealed that Baxter was left out after failing to recover completely from a groin injury picked up in the weekend win over Doncaster Rovers.

“By missing the Burton game, it gives him a better chance for the weekend,” Adkins said.

“He travelled down with the group [to the Pirelli Stadium] but he’s not 100 per cent and Chris Basham has four bookings. So, if he’d picked up another at Burton, we’d have been light in the middle on Saturday.

“You have to weigh all these things up when you consider your selection.”

Craig Alcock, who suffered a bruised hip and ribs in a challenge which saw Rovers’ Gary MacKenzie sent off on Saturday, is also battling for fitness while Ryan Flynn and Paul Coutts, who have both made recent returns following injury, were taken off against Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Brewers.

“Craig is still very sore,” Adkins said, “so we’ll see for the weekend.

“And it was a shame Paul and Ryan had to come off, too.

“But, with the length of time they’ve been out and the fact they worked so hard at the weekend, it was inevitable they would run out of steam a little bit.

“Our endeavour was to go and win the game.”

Adkins’ side remained sixth in the League One table following their Pirelli Stadium stalemate, and the Blades boss acknowledged afterwards that a draw was probably a fair result.

“That was a good clean sheet,” he said.

“Burton have a massive threat on the counter attack and that’s why, you have to remember, they are top of the league.

“That’s one of the things, together with the win of course, that we were looking to achieve so that’s a positive right there. There are no easy games at all.

“We had a penalty shout in the first-half that wasn’t given. But it was a good game, end to end at times. We knew, defensively, they would be resolute.

“There was some good play but, unfortunately, although we have been prolific so far, we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“Although we’ve come away from the leaders with a clean sheet.”