Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins has outlined the reasons behind James Wallace’s loan switch to Shrewsbury Town.
The former Everton youngster, who has made just 20 appearances for United since joining in June 2014, has joined United’s League One rivals until the end of the season.
Wallace says he has been fully fit for “four or five months” and struggled to break into United’s first team, with Chris Basham and Dean Hammond established as Adkins’ first-choice midfield partnership.
And the Blades boss, speaking after Tuesday’s dramatic 3-3 draw at Wigan which saw them come back from 3-0 down, said: “We hope James goes to Shrewsbury and plays football.
“He’s a good player but he needs to do that. He needs to show everyone that he’s capable of doing it.
“He’s still under contract with us but needs to prove to himself that he can do it in the Football League, week in, week out.
“But he’s still our football player, and we want him to do well there.”
Wallace, who first played for Shrewsbury as a youngster on loan from Everton, said: “I’m delighted to be back. It was an easy decision.
“Sheffield United have got 42 professional players on their books and it didn’t look like I was getting into their team. I had a few little injuries but I’ve been fit for four or five months and training every day, I just wasn’t getting game time.
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“I was playing reserve team football, which isn’t like first-team football.”
Adkins, meanwhile, paid tribute to United’s spirit and professionalism after sealing a point at the DW Stadium.
United appeared to be nursing something of a hangover from their FA Cup trip to Old Trafford at the weekend, as Wigan established a three-goal lead.
But a brace from Matt Done, either side of Billy Sharp’s header, levelled the scores and Sharp almost capped a dramatic turnaround with the winner late on.
Adkins’ men travel to Colchester this weekend in touching distance of the play-offs, but 13 points off automatic promotion. And the Blades boss said: “We looked fit, strong and powerful after the weekend and their spirit to go again was great.
“We showed the grit and determination that will be needed in the second half of the season and we never know when we’re beaten.
“We won’t give up on anything between now and the end of the season.”
Paul Coutts should return to the squad after missing the trip to Wigan.
“He’s been fantastic,” Adkins added.
“He’s been out for a long time with injury, but his partnership on the right with John Brayford has been top drawer. Dean Hammond and Chris Basham put a real shift in at Wigan, and who knows what they’ll be like come the weekend?
“So having a fresh, fit and in-form Paul Coutts for Colchester can only be a good thing.”