Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, has dismissed suggestions that his decision to sign Martyn Woolford means Jamie Murphy is destined to leave Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.
Woolford joined the League One club on a free transfer yesterday after leaving Millwall during the close season.
But Adkins told The Star he should not be viewed as a direct replacement for Murphy whose future in South Yorkshire has been the subject of intense debate amid interest from the likes of Brighton and Leeds.
“Jamie is well aware of the situation,” Adkins said. “That we are not looking for him to move on.
“Jamie knows that we want him to stay here, to stay at this football club and to help us get promoted.
“Everything we are doing is all about improving the group.”
Woolford rejected offers from teams at Championship level in order to resurrect his partnership with Adkins. The two men previously worked together at Scunthorpe where the 29-year-old scored the winning goal in the 2009 League One play-off final.
“This is a tough division and we’ve got to be competitive in every single game,” Adkins said. “It’s a grind and to get through you need a strong group of players.
“Martyn helps us improve that group. It’s beneficial that we know his character too.
“He’s got an outstanding attitude, a desire to be the best he can be, he’s honest, robust and hard-working.
“Martyn also knows what it takes to get out of this division and he’s plied his trade at a higher level too. Knowing the demands of the level we are at, coupled with the fact he can play several positions, is very important.”
Woolford agreed a two year contract, with the option of a third, following talks with United.
Adkins, as this newspaper revealed last week, added the 29-year-old’s name to his wanted list soon after Lee Turnbull’s appointment as head of recruitment and chief scout.
Woolford, a former England C international, progressed through the ranks at Glasshoughton Welfare and Frickley Athletic before turning professional with York City.
Adkins said: “Martyn’s record suggests that he should be available for selection most of the time. It’s all about a combination of knowledge and experience.
“Martyn adds to the strength of the group as a whole. I know what he can bring to the football club and the squad as a whole.”