Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins has denied claims that Billy Sharp could be ruled-out of Sunday’s crucial League One encounter against Coventry City due to injury.
Sharp was withdrawn at half-time during last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Oldham Athletic but Adkins insisted the decision was motivated by tactical rather than fitness issues.
“Billy didn’t go off because of an injury,” Adkins confirmed. “It was simply because we wanted to change things around as, during the first-half, everyone was cancelling each other out.
“We went to a diamond formation with Stefan (Scougall), who came on, at the tip of it and I thought it worked pretty well. It’s nice to have that flexibility there.”
United are 10 places and 12 points behind City who occupy the second automatic promotion berth. Despite clarifying Sharp’s situation, Adkins is preparing to be without Bob Harris for a game set to have a crucial bearing on his team’s season after the defender was treated in hospital for a facial injury sustained midway through the second round tie.
With centre-half David Edgar still receiving treatment for a hamstring complaint, Jay McEveley’s return to action is especially timely as United battle to remain in touch with the early pacesetters before the transfer window reopens next month.
“Jay did everything that was asked of him out there,” Adkins, speaking after the second round tie, said. “I thought he had a very solid game alongside Neill (Collins) and that was good to see.”
Meanwhile, City are poised to sign Swedish full-back Martin Lorentzson before the televised encounter at Bramall Lane. Lorentzson, previously of AIK and Åtvidabergs FF, has impressed on trial with Tony Mowbray’s side.