Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins has defended the club’s policy of allowing senior professionals to leave Bramall Lane on loan.
Kieron Freeman, James Wallace and Bob Harris, who missed Saturday’s visit to Fleetwood Town after agreeing a temporary deal with Steven Pressley’s side, are among those Adkins has deemed surplus to requirements in recent months although centre-forward Marc McNulty is expected to be recalled from Portsmouth at the end of the season.
With Adkins calling time on United’s bid for automatic promotion earlier this year, questions have inevitably been asked about whether it was wise to part company with experienced rather than young, up-and-coming players.
But he said: “We need to reduce the size of the squad, we made no bones about that, and so people had to go. There are different circumstances surrounding each one.
“Some have gone to aid their development, others have gone because they are in need of games.”
Although McNulty has impressed at Fratton Park, Freeman has failed to command a place in the League Two club’s starting 11, while Wallace’s spell with Shrewsbury Town has been overshadowed by injury.
Harris, who joined United from Fleetwood’s neighbours, Blackpool, is also struggling to force himself into Pressley’s plans although the Scot could try to sign the defender on a permanent basis this summer.
“We let Marc go because one thing we did have was a lot of strikers,” Adkins said. “We could have kept him here, but we took a decision that it was better for him to actually get more experience and more games.
“Kieron, unfortunately, isn’t really involved down there and Bob has been on the bench a lot.”