Adams job is safe at Blades – Birch

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Trevor Birch last night gave Sheffield United’s unequivocal backing to Micky Adams amid speculation that the manager’s job was under threat after just six Championship games.

The Blades chief has endured a miserable start to his reign at Bramall Lane with his opening half dozen outings having brought four defeats and two draws.

A return of just two points has led to United slipping into the relegation zone, with Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Ipswich Town leaving United four points adrift of safety.

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Such a precarious position led to one national newspaper yesterday claiming the 49-year-old was potentially just two games away from the sack – prompting a furious denial from the club.

Birch said: “The reports are without foundation. Less than two months ago we handed Micky and Alan Cork two-and-a-half year contracts because we believe they are the men to take Sheffield United forward – that is still the case.

“The new management team have not had the easiest of starts but are still getting to know the players they inherited. They have already boosted the squad with the permanent signings of experienced professionals such as Michael Doyle and Neill Collins, as well as bringing in a number of promising loan players.

“As a board, we have complete faith in Micky and Alan and are convinced they have the necessary tools to steer us away from the position we find ourselves at the moment.

“We are working with them in looking to strengthen the squad by further loans but that is easier said than done for a club in our position. If it can be done and the right players are available, we will do it. But the simple fact remains – we have to get behind the existing players and give them our total support.

“They are giving their all and by giving them our support they will play with confidence and maybe, just maybe, our luck will start to turn as we have had precious little of it this season.”

Adams’s reign started with a 4-2 defeat at Burnley on New Year’s Day, followed by draws against Doncaster Rovers and Coventry.

The battling manner of United’s performances in those two games suggested a corner had been turned only for the Blades to slip to three losses against Norwich City, Leicester City and Ipswich.

Birch added: “We find ourselves in a precarious position and without a win in eight games but this is the time we need to show the country that Unitedites are strong, together and not afraid to work hard to climb the Championship table.”

United are next in action this weekend when promotion-chasing Millwall are the visitors to the Lane and Birch has issued a rallying call to the club’s supporters.

He said: “We have got five vitally-important fixtures left in February which could shape our season and we need to be united to give us the best chance of picking up points.

“Three home games and away fixtures against two teams around us in the table give us a perfect opportunity to turn our season around, fast.

“Starting with the Millwall and Reading games, we need to pull together to show what a fantastic club this is.

“We are in a relegation fight and we have to get on with it. There is nothing to be gained from pointing accusing fingers and looking to apportion blame at this stage. There will be plenty of time for that at the end of the season.

“The only thing we can do now is rally behind Micky and the team and all play our roles in supporting the club unreservedly through these difficult times.

“It is a time for cool heads and positive thinking.”

Adams joined the Blades from Port Vale, where he transformed the Potteries club from a team who had finished the 2008-09 League Two season in 18th place to promotion challengers.

Meanwhile, Blades striker Ched Evans has been forced to withdraw from Gary Speed’s first Wales squad due to illness.

The 22-year-old, who has netted five goals in his last 12 Championship outings, missed the Blades’ defeat at Portman Road but had been named in the squad for tonight’s international friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin when Speed will make his managerial bow.

Better news for United’s international contingent, however, was young forward Jordan Slew being called up into the England Under-19 squad to play Germany in Chesterfield.

The 18-year-old has twice stepped off the substitutes’ bench for the Blades first team this season.