CHARLIE WEBSTER: Doyle fits Micky’s bill

New signing: Michael Doyle is a fighter with a terrific work rate.
New signing: Michael Doyle is a fighter with a terrific work rate.
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Not long to go until the January transfer window is firmly shut.

On my list Sheffield United are still missing a new defender and possibly a winger.

Thankfully Michael Doyle has put pen to paper on a permanent deal to Sheffield United from Coventry City.

The midfielder is the type of player I had wanted to see in our squad, a fighter, his work rate is fantastic and he knows our boss well, actually previously playing some of his best football under Micky Adams.

I know there are some out there that question his technical ability but I think this is a decent move for the Blades.

It’s good to see some actual signings through the door rather than just loans.

What would have been even better is to see a certain loan signing turned into a permanent one.

I am talking about Andy Reid, although I don’t blame him for wanting a return to the Premier League.

He is a class player but wage demands are more than we can afford right now.

Despite the loss at the weekend against Norwich City, I felt quite upbeat.

Although, as an aside, I’d done a bet in the Premier League for Newcastle United to beat Tottenham, £250 was on its way to charity and then good old Aaron Lennon went and scored in the last minute.

I was fuming - how inconsiderate of him!

Back to United and Saturday, it was reassuring that the effort and commitment was there, not a bad foundation for Adams to start building some quality around.

We might have lost and our league position doesn’t even bare thinking about but at least the manager is getting the dressing room right.

Incidentally all three teams below us in the table (Crystal Palace, Scunthorpe and Preston North End) drew, which was sort of lucky, sort of not.

One thing that clearly needs work is dealing with set pieces or actually just corners which we consistently fail to clear.

It’s pretty basic stuff to get right, especially at this level.

It’s about getting back to the drawing board and back to getting the basics covered, for Sheffield United.

Another bit of work that needs addressing is improving Marcus Bent’s fitness.

He showed that he has the potential to be a quality valuable resource that we need to maximise to the full.

I know he’s using these extra few days to get his head down. From Adams’s post match comments I can imagine the rest of the players too are having a tough week training on the fitness side of things, an increased work rate is on the agenda for the Gaffer.

As I mentioned earlier adding Doyle into the mix will fit in with the Adams ethic nicely.

Fitness and work rate is hugely important in football.

After all even the best players start making mistakes when they start to fatigue.

Footballers run on average six to eight miles per game, an hour of that is spent fast walking and jogging.

The rest is filled with between 150 to 200 periods of short bursts of intense activity.

I’m a huge believer in the advantage of seriously high levels of fitness in the game.

Whilst doing one of my coaching sessions for my Level Two FA badge on Saturday, the mentor coaches were discussing the perceived importance of not making ‘skill drills’ too hard, avoiding the players becoming over-fatigued.

I thought: ‘Hang on my players are going to work hard and improve their fitness and learn how to deal with fatigue...just like in a real match situation.’

In my view the senior coaches were being far too lenient so I made the players run a bit further! Footballers are, after all, endurance athletes.

Of course it takes a bit longer than just a week to build endurance levels up but Leicester City are at the Lane next and I’ve got a feeling we’re going to be celebrating our first win under the new reign.

In fact this week I might even go as far as putting my Sky charity bet on Sheffield United to win on Tuesday.