SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams will include “a sprinkling” of talent from the club’s youth and development squads in his plans at Preston North End tomorrow.
But Adams, who is expected to allow at least two on-loan players to return to their parent clubs as a result, refused to divulge the identities of those under consideration.
“If the young lads seem good enough then we’ll throw them in,” he said. “And by doing that we can see exactly how good they are.”
With defender Harry Maguire impressing on his debut against Cardiff City in midweek and striker Jordan Slew understood to have trained with the first team yesterday, Sunderland’s Nyron Nosworthy and Marcus Bent of Birmingham City appear the most vulnerable to any cull.
United travel to Lancashire bottom of the Championship table and eight points adrift of safety with only five games of the season remaining.
With their latest opponents only a point and a place higher, Adams conceded: “A draw won’t do either of us any good.
“We’ll got there and try to be positive – the same as we’ve always done – even if that means making substitutions that could put us at risk of losing the game if it’s level.
“I’m not giving up and I don’t want to give that impression.
“There are teams up on 45 points who haven’t done enough yet to regard themselves as being completely safe.
“Preston and ourselves will both be going out there looking to take three points. We’ll be giving it a real go.”
United’s preparations have been complicated by news that Joe Mattock (groin), Stephen Quinn (knee) and Daniel Bogdanovic (dead leg) joined Richard Cresswell, Ched Evans and Elian Parrino in the treatment room following Tuesday’s defeat by Dave Jones’ side.
Parrino is likely to miss the rest of the season after breaking a bone in his foot but Adams dismissed reports that Evans, the club’s top scorer, also faces a lengthy spell out.
“Ched has had an injection in his knee,” said Adams. “It’s nothing serious he’s struggling with but it does need rest.
“Elian has done his metatarsal and he could be out for a while. We’ll have to wait and see on that, though.”