Nigel Adkins has pledged not to sacrifice his attacking principles during tonight’s visit to League One leaders Burton Albion.
Instead the Sheffield United manager, whose team trail Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side by five points, has devised a plan to ask questions of a defence he rates among the best in the division.
“We’re going to the leaders but we will be positive,” Adkins said. “Burton did really well last year to be promoted and they’ve carried that momentum through with little disruption to their personnel and how they play. But we’re creating lots of chances ourselves and that’s something we’ll be looking to do again.”
Mark Howard, the United goalkeeper, revealed earlier this month how Adkins has placed huge emphasis on analysing opponents since being appointed in June.
Speaking after a 3-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers lifted his squad to sixth, the former Southampton and Scunthorpe chief said: “We’ve done our homework on Burton. Defensively, they set up with lots of bodies behind the ball and so we’ll have to break them down. They drop deep but they’ve scored the goals to put themselves top and there are where they are on merit. We know we are going to have to work very hard.”
Midfielder Paul Coutts returned from injury against Rovers but Jose Baxter and Craig Alcock were withdrawn with knocks and will be assessed by medical staff this morning.
“Jose came off with some discomfort in his groin,” Adkins said last night. “Craig took a bang on his side and couldn’t carry on after half time but we’ve still got 24 hours for things to settle down. The lads were back in again on Sunday and obviously today. We want as many bodies available as possible.”
“You need players to understand what is required of them and others within a team framework to help the overall dynamic. We were pleased to get Paul back and also Ryan (Flynn) too. They both did ever so well for us.”
Shane Cansdell-Sherriff hopes to be recalled by Albion after missing their victory over Chesterfield. The defender could replace Anthony O’Connor at centre-half while Hasselbaink is also contemplating a return to the starting eleven for Jerome Binnom-Williams.