Sheffield United: Adkins warns defence - Tighten up or I’ll replace you!

Sheffield United's manager, Nigel Adkins
Sheffield United's manager, Nigel Adkins

Nigel Adkins last night placed Sheffield United’s defence on notice after expressing concerns about the number of goals his team are conceding.

Adkins, speaking after watching the visitors fight back from 2-0 down to claim a point from yesterday’s Yorkshire derby against Bradford City, admitted he would enter the emergency loan market unless there was a marked improvement at the back.

Fulham’s Dan Burn is known to be United’s leading target but a deal to bring him to South Yorkshire was postponed on Friday following a spate of injuries at Craven Cottage.

“We’ve got to cut down on the number of goals we are letting in, that’s for sure,” Adkins said. “It’s too many, simple. We’ll keep working hard with the players we’ve got and, if we can’t improve it in-house, then we’ll have to go out-of-house as it were.”

Burn appeared as a substitute during Fulham’s meeting with Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and, as Adkins’ counterpart Kit Symons acknowledged, has expressed a desire to head north after holding talks with Bramall Lane’s hierarchy on transfer deadline day. United, seventh in the table and four points behind second-placed Walsall, have now conceded eight times in their previous three outings despite keeping four clean sheets last month.

Adkins, who saw Billy Sharp’s 70th minute equaliser avert the possibility of a third straight defeat following losses to Bury and Colchester, praised his team’s “character” and “never-say-die attitude”.

But he acknowledged: “We need to build our momentum again because we could, over the course of the last two games, have gone top of the league. We created more than enough chances to have won those games.

“We got a point but we came here wanting all three. We always have an endeavour to try and win which is why we went three up front in the second-half. What the players also have is character and a desire not to be beaten. They always fight their way back in, just like they did out there.”