Blades returning to fitness ‘like new players’

MANAGER Nigel Adkins says Sheffield United’s shrinking injury list has eased the pressure to bring in new signings at Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins (Picture: Martyn Harrison).Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins (Picture: Martyn Harrison).
Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins (Picture: Martyn Harrison).

Che Adams played 45 minutes for the Blades’ Under-21 side at Cardiff City this week, while Paul Coutts completed 90 minutes in the same game.

With Ryan Flynn back training, and fellow long-term absentees John Brayford, Matty Done and Florent Cuvelier all on the comeback trail, United’s squad is looking a lot more healthy.

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Fulham defender Dan Burn and Leicester City midfielder Dean Hammond are known targets, but Atkins is keen to focus on his own returning players.

“They are like new players for me, as I have not had an opportunity to utilise them,” said Adkins.

“We are really excited, they are good players. You look at these players, and conceivably, they are going to be starters.

“It’s a shame they haven’t been available to us so far, but they are now coming back and it makes the squad a lot more healthy than it has been. Ryan Flynn has trained really well (yesterday), Brayford is not ready yet – but he has stepped up and done a bit more – Matty Done’s joined in a lot more with the contact side of things, and even Flo (Cuvelier) joined in.”

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Adkins has played down talk of a move for former Blades defender Harry Maguire, after watching the player’s current side Hull City beat Swansea City in midweek.

Hammond was captain for Adkins in their Southampton days, and the manager remains a big fan of the midfielder.

“Everyone knows what I think about him as a man and leader, and he is an excellent football player,” he said.

“He’s got Premier League experience, but also good Championship and League One experience.”

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United face Doncaster tomorrow as Rovers’ caretaker-manager Rob Jones looks to stake his claim for the job on a permanent basis. Rovers’ deadline for applications to succeed Paul Dickov closed yesterday.

“I’ve applied,” said Jones, 35. “I want this job. It’s as simple as that.

“I know we’ve had two weeks of ‘is he, is he not?’ but I have applied for the job.

“I’m loving what I’m doing and I want to continue in that vein.”

Jones yesterday brought in Crystal Palace striker Keshi Anderson, 20, on a month’s loan.