NIGEL ADKINS admits that his Sheffield United squad is too big – and he is intent on stream-lining numbers in order to intensify competition.
Adkins’s Blades side currently reside in eighth spot in League One, eight points behind leaders Walsall ahead of Saturday’s home match with Southend United, having been bedevilled by inconsistency so far this season.
Consistency in team selection, not helped by injuries, has hitherto proved elusive, but with players returning to the fray, Adkins wants genuine competition to now open up.
The Blades chief has let the likes of Craig Alcock and Marc McNulty go out on loan recently and says that more players may be allowed to head out on a temporary basis ahead of the emergency loan deadline later this month – which he feels makes sense from a financial and squad perspective.
Adkins said: “Ideally, you want consistency of team selection and in that right alone, we need to reduce the amount of players we’ve got. All players should want to play. Yes, you have got to deal with injuries and suspensions, but purely on an economic and business point of view, you are going to have to pay a lot of players and we have got too many players. That needs to be addressed.
“Maybe a couple might go out on loan and other things might materialise.”
Adkins has so far been relatively selective in terms of his incoming transfer recruits at S2, with his emphasis being on quality as opposed to quantity.
Among that number is a familiar face from his days at Southampton in vastly-experienced midfield enforcer Dean Hammond and the Blades chief believes that the 32-year-old’s know-how will prove crucial in the run to the turn of the year.
He said: “You talk about professionalism and role models and Dean also does all the things that people don’t like to see get done; the hard graft and interceptions to keep the whole team ticking.
“Dean is an ultimate professional and that can only rub off on the likes of Louis Reed, for example. You look at the players Dean has played with and some are doing great things such as Morgan Schneiderlin at Manchester United and Jack Cork.
“Being alongside Dean helped them in their younger years as he helped teach them the game.”