CHAMPIONSHIP: SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams admits that he would quit the Championship strugglers if he had assembled its current squad.
The Blades are five points adrift of safety and have only 13 games left to prevent relegation to League One for the first time in 23 years.
Adams has yet to taste victory in 11 games as Blades manager but feels he cannot shoulder the blame for the majority of the club’s problems.
The former Leicester manager is the fourth man in charge at Bramall Lane this season – following Kevin Blackwell, Gary Speed, and John Carver – and has signed seven players since his arrival eight weeks ago.
Only two have been permanent acquisitions, however, namely midfielder Michael Doyle and centre-back Neill Collins. The rest have been short-term loan deals involving strikers Marcus Bent and Sam Vokes, midfielder Bjorn Helge Riise and defenders Shane Lowry and Joe Mattock
“If I had put this squad of players together, I would hold my hands up and I probably would walk,” Adams said. “But it is not my team and I have not put it together.
“I knew this would be a difficult spell when I came into the club and, having looked at the group, I wasn’t about to say ‘we are going to win eight on the spin and be challenging for promotion’. I always knew it was going to be a relegation battle. Nothing has changed.
“This football club has signed too many loan players throughout the last couple of years,” he said. “When you take loan players, you are taking a gamble. You don’t know their characters, how fit they are, you can only guess and surmise. You are bound to get those areas wrong sometimes.
“I can understand the frustration of the supporters and also them questioning signings. But I don’t see any point in the supporters turning on the players because there is no white charger coming over the hill with a sackful of players. This is what we have, this is what we have been dealt with, and we have all got to try to bring the best out in them.”
After ripping into his players following a 3-2 defeat at Scunthorpe, Adams is banking on a positive reaction against the Rams and in a further bid to galvanise his troops, he has stressed the possible implications of relegation.
“There is a lot riding on survival this season,” he said. ”Jobs. Not least mine. I love this football club and I want to stay in this job. That’s why it hurts me so much. I am a Sheffield United fan and don’t want to play a part in taking the club down. There will be massive changes at this football club if we were to get relegated. It could affect a lot of auxiliary staff, and it would certainly affect me.
“If I was still a player, I know how I would respond now,” he added. “I would be saying ‘I will prove you wrong’, ‘I will show you that I do care’, ‘I will prove that I want to be part of this football club.’ Let’s hope that’s the type of response we get.”
Adams makes no apologies for his brash style and firmly intends to keep shooting from the lip.
“Players win games of football and managers lose them. That is never going to change but I know I can look at myself in the mirror. I have always had this policy of being open and honest with players. I don’t talk behind their backs. I am not a manager who says nothing to their face and then tells it to the papers. I am like marmite. People either like me or hate me – but I am not going to change. I will continue to say it how it is.”
Although Derby are seven points above the Blades in 19th spot, they have been in freefall for the last three months. Manager Nigel Clough had steered the Rams to fourth in the table but is under mounting pressure after losing 11 of the last 15 games.
Blades striker Jamie Ward is on loan with the Rams after falling out of favour with Adams but does not play today under the terms of that deal.