Nigel Adkins has confronted claims that taking charge of Sheffield United represents the toughest challenge of his career, writes James Shield.
Nick Montgomery, who made nearly 400 appearances during 12 seasons at Bramall Lane, warned Adkins earlier this week he had accepted the “most pressurised job” in English football after being unveiled as the League One club’s eighth manager in as many years five weeks ago.
But Adkins, the former Southampton, Scunthorpe and Reading chief, issued a defiant response, saying: “Isn’t that brilliant? I want to be in the Premier League and I want it to be with Sheffield United.
“We are very respectful of everyone in this division and we will be for every game.
“Is it the toughest job? It is a great one, I know that much for sure.
“I only want to manage at the top level. To do that, you have to manage in tough environments.
“But it is a really exciting environment and a positive one that is being created. This is an exciting challenge for all of us. Players, staff and supporters alike.
“We should embrace that toughness. And think ‘Bring it on’.”
Adkins delivered Premier League football to St Mary’s after inheriting a team languishing in the third tier and, admitting he wants to repeat the feat with United, added: “That is what we want to be able to do.
“If you want to be managing at the top level, you have to manage in tough situations. I am really excited about it.
“We want to go up, there is no doubt about that. But we also have to be respectful and mindful of everyone. If you aren’t, you get a smack on the backside.
“Know yourself and know your opponent. That’s our mind-set.
“If you do then you don’t have to be fearful of anyone.”
Montgomery, now captain of Central Coast Mariners, told The Star on Monday: “I wish Nigel all the best because it pains me to see United still where they are.” They’re bigger and better than that.
“I know a few people who have played for him in the past and they all have nothing but good things to say about him. I still watch all the games when I can on the internet and I’ll be rooting for him, albeit from a long way away.”