Patience is key for Blades boss Adkins ahead of Manchester United clash

Nigel Adkins is in the running for the manager of the month award
Nigel Adkins is in the running for the manager of the month award
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Nigel Adkins insists he’s willing to play the waiting game as Sheffield United continue to assess their targets in the January transfer window.

Adkins, whose side travel to Manchester United for an FA Cup third-round tie this weekend, first has the task of reducing United’s bloated squad - which he currently estimates to contain 43 professional players.

But the Blades boss is still hopeful of additions, while extending Dean Hammond’s loan from Leicester City also features high on his priority list.

“We have 43 professionals, which is far too many in League One,” Adkins, speaking after Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat to Peterborough, admitted.

“The size of the squad and the budget I have to work with needs to be addressed but it’s also important that we keep strengthening, too.

“It might be at the end of the month, but we’re looking to bring in a couple of players. We’re working hard behind the scenes to make that happen.

“There are no guarantees or promises, of course; we have a lot of players and we have to be mindful of that. We also need to remember the importance of continuity; we’ve kept a fairly settled side throughout December and it’s served us well.

“The lads are having a right good go for each other, and that’s really important.”

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Defeat to Graham Westley’s Peterborough was United’s first game of seven in January - five of which come away from Bramall Lane.

“You have to feel for the fans, with so many away trips so soon after Christmas,” Adkins, who was today shortlisted for December’s Sky Bet League One ‘Manager of the Month’ award, added.

“That’s why we’ve got to do all we can to show them the effort and commitment worthy of their following. January will be an interesting time, with lots of games and comings and goings.

“We’ve got to move a few on but try and do right by everyone... we need to ensure there’s a pathway for youngsters to reach the first-team in the long run, but also we need to make sure we have a team capable of getting us up this season.

“There’ll be a lot of honest, and private, conversations going on and it’s important we try to keep building.

“We all want the same thing - to get out of this division, this season - and do it in an entertaining way.”

Adkins is competing with Barnsley’s Lee Johnson, Justin Edinburgh of Gillingham and Walsall boss Sean O’Driscoll for the Manager of the Month award.

The winners are announced on Friday.