Lane boss puts pain to one side as he seeks reasons for slump

Neil Collins                  Picture:Steve Parkin
Neil Collins Picture:Steve Parkin
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MICKY Adams has pledged to leave no stone unturned as the search for solutions to Sheffield United’s alarming form continues.

The South Yorkshire club remained rooted in the relegation zone - four points adrift of safety - after completing an unwelcome hat-trick of league defeats when they were beaten 3-0 at Ipswich Town last weekend.

Adams, who is still searching for his first win since taking charge at Bramall Lane seven games ago, cut a frustrated figure after red cards for Rob Kozluk and Lee Williamson compounded the visitors’ woes. But, despite the pain etched across his face during a brutally frank post-match inquest, the competitive streak which persuaded United to appoint him soon re-surfaced as misery turned to defiance.

“We’re going to have to look at everything,” Adams said. “Everyone has got to look at themselves including me.

“Have I missed a trick when it comes to team selection? That’s something I’m going to have to consider.”

Although Adams is right to accept a portion of responsibility for United’s situation, the reasons behind their fall from grace were sown long before his arrival in December.

A squad packed with loan signings reveals United’s lack of coherent strategy since losing the 2009 play-off final while, by chairman Kevin McCabe’s own admission, parachute payments were poorly invested following their controversial relegation from the Premier League two years earlier. A turbulent economy and lack of stability behind the scenes - Adams is United’s fourth manager of the season - has increased the uncertainty.

If any doubt remained about the seriousness of United’s situation then a glance at the npower Championship table this morning, which shows them clinging onto the second tier of England’s footballing ladder by their fingertips, confirms the fate which awaits if results do not quickly improve.

In fairness to the board of directors, United are not the only team who have struggled after losing top-flight status and the arrival of Neill Collins and Michael Doyle on permanent contracts should go someway towards arresting the decline. But Adams is also acutely aware that he must also confront the ’here and now’- starting with repairing United’s brittle confidence.

“Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill I can give them,” he said.