Sheffield United look to turn over new Page

Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins believes former Blade Robert Page will look to exploit the club's poor run of results in 2016.

Nigel Adkins.

The Blades sit mid-table, in ninth, after a demoralising 1-0 loss at Bury on Tuesday evening.

They have just 15 games to try and gatecrash the play-offs, trailing sixth-placed Millwall by five points.

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Port Vale - managed by former Blades defender Page - are Saturday’s visitors to Bramall Lane, where United have yet to win in 2016. They have only won twice - away at Colchester and Doncaster Rovers - in nine games since the turn of the year.

Vale are on the same points as United, and Adkins believes the visitors will try and exploit the hosts’ current troubles.

“Robert Page will come and it will be competitive,” he said. “They will want to come here, keep the crowd quite for 10 minutes, and get them to turn on the players.

“That will be part of their game strategy. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen, and start brightly.

“We need to get wins. It’s all about grit and resilience.

“There are question marks over all of us, because of where we are. Our football club will need to get where it wants to be, the structure will be right, and you are either going to be a part of it or you’re not.”

Defeat at Gigg Lane - against a side who conceded six four days earlier at Coventry City - left many Blades fans fuming.

But Adkins said: “It’s easy to say the players are passionless. I disagree.”

Defender Neill Collins (ankle) missed out in midweek, but has returned to training, while striker Billy Sharp could start on Saturday after playing the second-half at Bury.

“Billy is fit, he played the full second half (at Bury) and there has been no repercussions from that,” said Adkins.

“I would like to think he has the bit between his teeth for Saturday now, which is good.

“Neill Collins has been out on the training pitch this morning, running around, so we will just wait to see what reaction he has.

“We are optimistic on that, we just have to see how his ankle reacts overnight.”