There will be two familiar faces prowling the away technical area on Saturday when struggling Sheffield United welcome Port Vale to Bramall Lane.
It promises to be another emotional return to South Yorkshire for Valiants manager Micky Adams and his first-team coach Rob Page.
Adams, a a lifelong United supporter, spent five frustrating months in charge of his boyhood club, with his reign beginning on December 30, 2010. He was sacked the following May, having failed to preserve their Championship status. In his 24 matches at the helm, Adams steered United to a paltry four wins. He is convinced he would have transformed the club’s fortunes had he been given more time.
“I’m a United fan and everybody knows me as that so it’s sad it didn’t work out there but five months is never long enough at any club,” he said last November. “I felt let down by certain people but that’s football.”
It was nearly a year ago that Adams last renewed acquaintances with the Blades. His Vale side almost dumped them out of the FA Cup. They took the lead at Bramall Lane through former Rotherham United striker Tom Pope but two goals late on from Shaun Miller booked the Blades place in the third round of the competition.
“Given time, I would have changed things around [at United] and would have been the man to bring them back,” insisted Adams.
Since rejoining Vale at the end of the 2010/11 campaign, Adam has rebuilt his reputation in the sport, culminating in the Staffordshire outfit securing the third automatic promotion berth in League Two last term.
Adams drafted in Page, who made over 100 appearances for the Blades between 2001 and 2004 before joining Cardiff City, as a youth-team coach two years ago. Page, who spent three years with Chesterfield before retiring, has since been promoted to Adams’ backroom staff.
The defender, capped 41 times by Wales during his playing career, was in contention for the vacant managerial position last summer at United. The Star understands Page held several discussions with United’s hierarchy in early June but the job eventually went to David Weir.
Page is highly thought of at Vale Park and he took temporary charge of first-team affairs last month after Adams had a hip replacement. He oversaw a 1-0 win at Tranmere Rovers, a home draw with Bristol City and a defeat to Rochdale in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Adams made his comeback in Saturday’s narrow loss to high-flying Peterborough United.
Vale sit 12th in the standings, having collected 14 points from 11 outings.