Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, has pledged to keep faith with Bramall Lane’s young players despite acknowledging his team must improve its consistency levels.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s League One fixture against Crewe Alexandra, Adkins absolved Harrison McGahey and Kieran Wallace of any responsibility for a chequered run of form which has seen United slip to sixth in the table.
Wallace, previously of Ilkeston, has started United’s last three games together with former Blackpool centre-half McGahey and Adkins told The Star: “Kieran Wallace has been outstanding. Him, Harrison and Che (Adams), they are young players and we’re trying to get that balance right between experience and youth.
“Kieran has come in and gone from strength to strength. He put in three crosses against Oldham earlier this month and we should have scored from all of them. Then he put in two against Fleetwood and we scored from both. Arguably their best attacking player, Bobby Grant, had to go off because he was so tenacious against him and that was a real pat on the back.”
United head to Gresty Road having taken four points from a possible nine in league competition but averaging 1.6 since Adkins’ appointment during the close season. Had they beaten rather than lost to Millwall three days ago, they would have been nudging the 2.0 return the 50-year-old believes will deliver promotion.
“We’re helping them, the young players, develop which is important,” Adkins said. “It’s a big thing for us, as you’ll have seen, over the years. We also place a big emphasis on the importance of fitness. They’ll be in and they’ll be out - that’s what happens with young players - but we have high hopes for them.
“Che and Kieran were playing for Ilkeston last season so well done to the club for bringing them in. You want young and hungry players who are willing to learn. We allow them to make mistakes so long as it’s not the same ones.
“I like to think with the coaches we’ve got here, Andy and Dean, they’ll develop and be nurtured.
“Sometimes you’ve got to drop them out because it might not be the right thing for them and their development. But we’ve had young players in the past who have gone on to do great things. We know how to bring them through properly, yes.”