Nigel Adkins has told his players not to allow a desire for revenge to cloud their judgement when Gillingham visit Bramall Lane this afternoon.
Sheffield United were beaten 4-0 at Priestfield on the opening day of the League One season and although Adkins has used that result as a motivational tool, he insisted the outcome of today’s contest will ultimately be decided by professional rather than personal factors.
“Yes, we all know what happened down there,” Adkins, the United manager, said. “But we also need a focus and a discipline about what we do.”
Adkins, whose side are eighth in the table with six matches remaining, accepted the possible return of Bradley Dack and John Egan from injury means it is impossible to predict what system fourth-placed Gillingham will employ but warned Justin Edinburgh’s team will pose a physical threat irrespective of tactics.
“They’ve used a three at the back, like us, of late but they might go back to a diamond because there are a few lads there who, at the very least, are probably going to be on the bench,” Adkins said. “We’ll have to wait and see but we’ve trained well and have a good shape about us now. Nice and compact.
“Our focus is to win the game first and then, afterwards, analyse and assess what the situation is.”
Adkins, who last night confirmed defender John Brayford faces a “good few weeks” out after damaging a calf muscle, also used United’s pre-match media briefing to explain why he missed the same event against Walsall eight days ago.
“We have a standard procedure, I had a sore throat and so I stayed away,” he said. “We’ve actually had a few other people around the place with the same thing so there’s no point in running the risk of spreading anything around is there.”