Nigel Adkins has reassured Jay McEveley, David Edgar and Neill Collins that they are not being auditioned for the two central defensive positions which exist within his team, writes James Shield.
The Sheffield United manager, who signed Edgar on a long-term from Birmingham City last week, argued the sheer volume of games third tier clubs contest during the course of a season means all three can expect significant exposure between now and May.
“It’s not about two of them trying to force the other one out,” he said. “It’s about them as a group.
“We could potentially, with the cups play a huge number of matches and we want to negotiate our way through that as best we can. If we do that successfully then it will benefit them and also the team as a whole.”
Adkins, who has favoured a 4-4-2 formation since being appointed two months ago, was speaking as his squad prepares for its fourth outing in 11 days at Peterborough this evening. Fellow defenders Terry Kennedy and Harrison McGahey are recovering from knee and pelvic problems respectively.
Kennedy resumed training before Saturday’s meeting with Chesterfield but must complete a full ‘pre-season’ programme, devised by United’s fitness and medical departments, before being considered for selection.
“Neill and Jay are both excellent professionals,” Adkins said. “They’ve shown that throughout our time here but, with respect, they are both in their thirties and that means they are unlikely to be at their peak if they are out there twice, possibly three times, a week throughout the whole season.
“We want to get the best out of them because, as I say, that’s better for everybody concerned. It’s not about individual players, it’s about the squad and club as a whole and managing it in the best and most effective way we possibly can to achieve the best results.”
Adkins, who distanced himself from reports, also denied by United’s hierarchy, that Michael Turner is a transfer target, said: “We are always looking to improve the team and, if the opportunity is there as we’ve shown we’ve David, then we’ll take it. But we also want to improve the players we have here too.”