Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, has warned he will not bow to pressure and publicly criticise his players despite a series of disappointing results.
United enter tomorrow’s game against Port Vale under increasing scrutiny after Tuesday’s defeat at Bury left them ninth in the League One table with only 15 matches remaining.
Midfielder Jose Baxter issued an apology following the match at Gigg Lane, admitting Adkins’s squad were guilty of “letting the fans down” on “too many” occasions this season.
Although he accepted why United supporters had vented their spleen afterwards, Adkins said: “Listen, you’ve seen how I am. It’s easy to vilify players. But, like anyone working in other industries, people want to work for someone who will back them as much as possible publicly.
“In private, I’ll tell them where they stand. I’m always open and honest.”
“I’ve got to find the solutions,” he added. “We need to win games to get to where we want to be, I’m well aware of that.”
Vale will overtake United in the race for play-off qualification if they triumph at Bramall Lane. Despite beating neighbours Doncaster Rovers six days ago, Adkins’ team finds itself five points behind sixth-place after winning only two of its last eight matches.
“We’ve got to respond,” Adkins said. “Respond properly.”