MICKY Adams, the Sheffield United manager, has warned his players not to expect an easy ride despite watching an injury crisis engulf Bramall Lane.
Five days after Mark Yeates became the latest admission to the club's overcrowded treatment room, Adams conceded he is powerless to prevent fitness problems from hijacking their fight for Championship survival.
But, having arrived with a reputation for devising punishing training schedules, the 49-year-old says the need to engineer a positive sequence of results must override concerns about the depth of his squad.
Adams, appointed as Gary Speed's permanent successor last month, said: "We've got a lot of work to do and that means we can't just call a halt to the sessions we've got planned. We can't afford to ignore that. So there's no chance of wrapping people up in cotton wool or anything like that. There are things we need to be getting on with."
With more that 10 of Yeates' teammates also missing last weekend's FA Cup meeting with Aston Villa, Adams was able to name only six of his permitted seven substitutes on the bench against Gerard Houllier's side.
Like fellow forward Richard Cresswell, the Irish winger is recovering from a dislocated shoulder although efforts were made to get him ready in time for the third-round tie.
"Mark tried to go through a test but it was just too painful," said Adams. "I know people keep wondering if there's anything we can do to cut down (the number of injuries) and, believe me, we always take a good look at everything we are doing.
"But these aren't soft tissue problems we're picking up. If they were then there would be something we could do.
"That's two dislocated shoulders now and they're impact injuries. We've also got people out with cruciate ligament damage and, really, there's not a lot you can do to stop them, as frustrating as that is."
Season-ticket- holders will be given the first opportunity to meet Adams and his assistant Alan Cork at a 'Meet the Manager' forum at Bramall Lane on January 20. Tickets are available by telephoning 0871 995 1889.
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