Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, could find himself locked on a collision course with organisers of the Johnstone Paint Trophy as he contemplates breaking its rules governing team selection at Hartlepool tonight, writes James Shield.
Although Adkins has publicly refused to confirm whether United will adhere to legislation which requires six of those who started last weekend’s League One victory over Swindon Town to feature in their first choice eleven against Ronnie Moore’s side, privately The Star understands coaching staff have informed Bramall Lane’s hierarchy they are set to ignore the statute and deal with the consequences.
United requested clarification from the Football League whether David Edgar, Che Adams and Louis Reed - who all faced Swindon before reporting for international duty - count towards the quota but, as of last night, were apparently still awaiting a definitive response.
“We are very respectful of Hartlepool and the competition,” Adkins said. “It’s an opportunity whereby good players coming back from injury can play some proper, competitive football.
“We’ll do what’s right by Sheffield United. We’ll be going there to try and win the game and give some of those who need game-time good experience. The regulations are what they are and you’ve just got the get on with it.”
United climbed the second in the table after beating Swindon and Adkins said: “It’s an interesting one because the rules say we’ve got to keep six but three of those are going to be away. We are trying to clarify what effect that has.
“Hartlepool have done really well, Ronnie (Moore) did a great job of keeping them in the league last season and they’ve started this one well. But, if we can keep our momentum going, then it will be a fantastic thing for us. Like I say, we’ve got very good players available and we’ll do what’s best.”