Adkins relishes tough challenge with Blades

NIGEL ADKINS has sent a defiant message for those who believe the job of steering Sheffield United back to the Championship is one of the toughest in football: “Bring it on.”

Pre-season training with the Blades.

The 50-year-old is looking to prevail where his three immediate predecessors at Bramall Lane failed by steering the Blades out of League One.

Nigel Clough’s dismissal in late May, despite reaching two major Cup semi-finals in as many seasons plus the play-offs, proved just how demanding the United post can be.

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“Is it the toughest job?” said Adkins when asked about the expectation that surrounds United. “If it is, that is great. I only want to manage at the top level. To do that, you have to manage in tough environments.

“I want to be in the Premier League and I want it to be with Sheffield United. This is a really exciting environment and a positive one that is being created.

“This is an exciting challenge for all of us and we should embrace that toughness. And think ‘Bring it on’.

“That is what we want to be able to do. If you want to be managing at the top level, you have to manage in tough situations. I am really excited about it.

“We want to go up, there is no doubt about that. But we also have to be respectful and mindful of everyone. If you aren’t, you get a smack on the backside.

“Know yourself and know your opponent. Do that and you don’t have to be fearful of anyone.”

United, who are keen to bring Billy Sharp back to the Lane but as of last night no concrete bid had been made after the striker had trained with the Championship club during the morning, are determined to use last season’s disappointment as inspiration this term.

Full-back Bob Harris said: “We fell short last year. We wanted promotion but we didn’t achieve it. We had our chance but we just weren’t good enough. Hopefully we can rectify that this year and kick-on.

“From day one, we’ve come back and forgotten about the play-offs. We are just even hungrier for success this season now.”