Oldham v Sheffield United: Halting flow of goals at back Adkins’s priority

Sheffield United' boss Nigel Adkins.
Sheffield United' boss Nigel Adkins.
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Nigel Adkins has challenged his Sheffield United side to keep a clean sheet at Boundary Park today.

The Blades have leaked 18 goals in 12 games – even struggling Blackpool have conceded fewer goals this campaign – and only Colchester United and Peterborough United have worse defensive records in the top half of League One.

United have kept four clean sheets this season, not a bad tally, but 13 goals shipped in their last seven league outings is a worry.

Injuries have meant Adkins has been unable to put out a settled back four this season, while the likes of Bob Harris and John Brayford are long-term absentees.

Defender Jay McEveley has been added to the injury list after suffering a broken toe last week in the 3-2 win over Rochdale.

“It doesn’t need any intervention, just a natural healing process,” said Adkins.

“Hopefully, once the pain and swelling subsides, you never know he could be back a lot quicker (than expected).”

With a depleted squad, Adkins is refusing to panic and bring in a defensive body on loan just to bolster numbers.

“It’s important we don’t bring somebody in just for the sake of it,” he said.

“We have got a lot of players at the football club. It has to be the right person, whoever comes in has got to be improving what we have got.

“It’s quite simple, the trend is we have conceded too many goals.

“We are working to address that and change that trend.

“I went to watch Oldham against Doncaster. You never underestimate the opposition.

“They will have threats, a new manager, but we need to keep more clean sheets.

“That’s one of the priorities for the weekend.”