Frustration grows for Adams after missing loan targets

SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams has condemned the Premier League fringe players who are unwilling to take on his club’s survival battle.

Adams wants both a striker and a goalkeeper to help the Blades avoid relegation from the Championship but says some of his targets would prefer to get paid without playing.

“People think you can just go out and loan Premiership players but many look at our situation and decide to go elsewhere or they just don’t fancy it,” he said.

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“That’s the modern footballer – they don’t want to play. If they don’t have to, they would rather not. They are happy picking up their money and they don’t have to do anything for it other than turn up for training. It’s an easy life so why put their necks on the block having a little battle at Sheffield United?”

Adams refused to disclose names but revealed that a Premier League goalkeeper had rejected a loan move to Bramall Lane this week after terms had been agreed with his club.

Blackpool striker Marlon Harewood was also a target but opted to spend the rest of the season on loan at mid-table Barnsley instead.

Adams needs competition for goalkeeper Steve Simonsen after losing both Richard Wright and third-choice Mihkel Aksalu to injuries. Although he currently has five strikers at his disposal, all are struggling for goals including loan signing Marcus Bent.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll joined the Blades on trial this week but lacked match fitness and was sent off during a reserve team game against Barnsley.

The Northern Ireland international, now 33, has battled alcohol and gambling problems in recent years but is seeking a return to English football after a spell in Denmark with Odense BK.

“We are looking for a goalkeeper to give competition to Simmo,” said Adams. “We need someone who can come in and hit the ground running. Roy Carroll trained with us on Monday and Tuesday and played on Wednesday but we have decided not to pursue that. Unfortunately, Roy needs work, he needs a good pre-season behind him, and we have not got time to give him that.

“We also had an offer for a Premier League goalkeeper accepted, and everything was agreed with the club, but the boy didn’t want to come,” he added. “When you are at the bottom end of the table, you have got a limited market.”

The Blades are six points adrift of safety after 13 league games without a victory and there are only 12 games remaining to avoid the drop.

Adams is prepared to gamble on the fitness of three potentially key players tomorrow at Portsmouth in a bid to turn the tide.

Midfielder Nick Montgomery has not played since suffering a knee injury against Millwall three weeks ago, on-loan defender Joe Mattock has missed six games with knee and ankle injuries, and striker Sam Vokes strained a hamstring on his debut last month following a loan move from Wolves.

“All three would be calculated risks,” said Adams, “But we are getting to the stage now where we might have to take chances.”

The return of Montgomery would be a major boost for the Blades with Adams saying: “He’s a winner, a leader, and he cares passionately about the football club. He took the armband with pride when Chris Morgan got injured and he doesn’t want to be the captain of a Sheffield United side that gets relegated. He is the type of character we need and his attitude can rub off on others.”

Defender Shane Lowry, on loan from Leeds United, is set to miss his second game in a row tomorrow after receiving an additional one-game ban from the FA.

Lowry was sent off for two bookable offences in last week’s 3-2 defeat at Glanford Park but reacted angrily to his dismissal in the technical area.

“We are disappointed,” said Adams. “He left the field of play no problem, there was some goading from their bench, and he lost his cool and kicked the dug-out. He’s only a young boy and it’s a lesson to be learned. We were hoping the FA would look at it sympathetically and we sent them a nice letter but they have still hit him with another one game ban.”

n The Blades yesterday announced a two-year freeze on season ticket prices, but only for those supporters who are willing to commit to the club before April 17. Although uncertainty surrounds the club’s Championship status, the Blades want supporters to sign up with at least four games of the current season to play.

Head of Commercial, Steve Lewis, said: “Buying a season ticket now means Blades fans can save up to £127 as against buying match by match tickets over the season.”