Sheffield United: Boost for Blades boss as key duo return to action

Che Adams
Che Adams
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Nigel Adkins is hoping for a derby-day injury boost after Che Adams and Paul Coutts made scoring returns for Sheffield United’s Under-21s last night.

England U20 international Adams - who has missed United’s last two games with illness - and former Derby midfielder Coutts, who missed the whole of pre-season with a troublesome knee injury, featured amongst a strong United squad for their 4-0 win at Cardiff.

George Long, Kieran Wallace, Terry Kennedy, Harrison McGahey and Stefan Scougall were all named in Chris Morgan’s starting line-up at the Cardiff City Stadium, but the sight of Adams pulling on a United shirt again will be a boost for Adkins ahead of Saturday’s derby clash against Doncaster Rovers at Bramall Lane.

Adams opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark and Coutts doubled United’s advantage from the penalty spot.

Skipper Kennedy headed home the third, before Jamie McDonagh rounded off the scoring.

Adams was withdrawn at half time, Coutts played 90 minutes and Scougall played just under an hour ahead of the visit of Rovers, who are under the temporary charge of Rob Jones.

And Adkins, speaking after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Bradford prevented their own run of defeats stretching to three matches, said: “The momentum needs to build again now. We could have gone top if we’d won the games over the past week or so, but we need to cut down on goals against us.

“We brought Jose on and changed the shape, which was important. He set up the equaliser, and then cleared one off the line in the 95th minute to secure us a point.

“That’s the attitude and character we want; he went out of the team after his red card at Fulham, but he’s worked hard to get his chance again and when it came, he’s taken it.

“But it shows the importance of that competition for places, and hopefully that will only get better. We’ve seen Che and Paul Coutts play down at Cardiff, as well as the other lads, which is promising.”

“Paul, in particular, has been out a long time and we’ve not been able to play him since we came in,” the United boss added.

“So it’s good to get him back out there on the field. But with all the lads who have been injured, we have to be careful; we don’t want to rush them and lose them again.

“So it’s about building them up gradually. But playing for the U21s is an important part of their process, and it’ll be a big boost to the group when we can get these lads out there on the park again.”