Sheffield United: Boss drops midfielder hint

Nigel Adkins is a huge fan of Dean Hammond (above) �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved
Nigel Adkins is a huge fan of Dean Hammond (above) �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

Nigel Adkins has provided the clearest indication yet that he wants to retain Dean Hammond’s services until at least the end of the season by describing the midfielder, on-loan from Leicester City, as a “joy” to work with.

Talks aimed at extending Hammond’s stay with the League One club are known to have taken place between Bramall Lane’s hierarchy and their counterparts at the King Power Stadium since the 32-year-old moved north in October.

Hammond has won admirers among fellow players and coaching staff alike for his attitude �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

Hammond has won admirers among fellow players and coaching staff alike for his attitude �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

Although Adkins has been tight-lipped about his plans for next month’s transfer window, he told The Star: “Listen, Dean is a joy to work with. And that’s in respect of what he does on the pitch and also every single day on the training ground.

“He works his socks off. You can not fault him in terms of effort, commitment or desire. When Dean goes down, he picks himself back up and just goes again. You can see what he’s like with the others players as well. He’s superb in that regard too.”

Although Adkins hopes to strengthen the options at his disposal by making a few clinical forays into the transfer market, the United manager is also planning to trim a squad which, most observers agree, has become bloated in recent years. Sources in the Midlands last night confirmed Hammond is surplus to requirements at City but it remains to be seen whether United will push through a permanent deal or extend his temporary agreement before revisiting the matter during the close season.

Adkins, whose side are 11th in the table ahead of Saturday’s visit to Scunthorpe, said: “I want that dogged resilience to do well for each other.”

Nigel Adkins is planning changes in January �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

Nigel Adkins is planning changes in January �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

“We’ve talked at times about making our own luck this season,” he continued. “Perhaps that’s what happened (against Coventry City) last time out. If it is, then we’ve got to keep on making our own luck haven’t we?

“If it is then, with the effort that was put in, I’d say it was deserved. They worked hard. They did that for each other.”

Hammond, who previously worked with Adkins at Southampton, is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the present campaign. He achieved the third promotion of his career when City reached the Premier League two seasons ago but played just once following Claudio Ranieri’s appointment in June.

Hammond is expected to make his 12th appearance for United when they travel to Glanford Park but Che Adams is suspended.

Hammond's temporary agreement with United expires next month �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved

Hammond's temporary agreement with United expires next month �2015 Sport Image all rights reserved