Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins will be taking a keen interest in today’s Professional Development League under-21 play-off against Charlton Athletic after reiterating his desire to see more Steelphalt Academy graduates reach the first-team squad.
Adkins, who could travel to The Valley after revealing he attends most games contested by John Dungworth’s team, told The Star that changes to the transfer market next season mean it is “imperative” the League One club’s youth system continues to excel.
Assessing the implications of FIFA’s decision to outlaw emergency loans, Adkins said: “I’ve already gone on record to say we want a smaller squad going forward comprised of 20 or so established performers and then a development group, if you like, of 10 behind that. If there are injuries, then they will be the first port of call, so it’s imperative they are ready to come in.”
Ben Whiteman, Graham Kelly, David Brooks and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are among the latest wave of home-grown talent to catch Adkins’ eye and join fellow academy graduates George Long, Billy Sharp and Louis Reed in the 51-year-old’s plans.
With U-18s coach Travis Binnion confirmed as the replacement for outgoing academy manager Nick Cox, Adkins said: “We’re all working together as a group, wanting the same thing.”