Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, last night called upon football’s governing bodies not to ignore the effects international fixtures can have on lower league clubs.
Adkins issued his plea after expressing fears he could lose several influential performers, including centre-half David Edgar, over the crucial Bank Holiday period after Canada scheduled their FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico for March 25 and 29.
United, who are battling to secure a top six finish, face Crewe Alexandra at home on the same day Benito Floro’s side stage the first-leg of the contest in Vancouver before visiting Southend 24 hours after Canada travel to the Estadio Azteca.
With Premier League and Championship teams excused from competition during international windows, Adkins told The Star: “We’re striving to get ourselves in the play-offs. We are striving to be promoted.
“The players in the team, you want them do well for Sheffield United Football Club. If they are being recognised, obviously it shows that we’ve got good players here.
“But, equally, you don’t want that honour and that recognition to possible be to the detriment of your own club. I’m sure, across the board, it’s being talked about. I’m sure people look at it.
“They are the rules and we have to abide by them. We have to deal with them as best we can.”
Adkins, speaking ahead of today’s meeting with Rochdale, expressed fears the problems caused by Edgar’s potential absence - he has captained Canada on several occasions - could be made even more acute if Che Adams and Louis Reed are selected by England at under-20 level. Keith Downing’s squad face Ghana at the Keepmoat Stadium on March 27.
“Ultimately, we are going to lose him (Edgar) for a couple of games,” Adkins said. “That’s not really what we want. Louis, Che are doing well. They might get called-up.
“Earlier this season, we had to cancel Colchester because Callum was away with Scotland (under-21’s) too.”
“Potentially, come Crewe and then Southend, David will still be away then,” Adkins added. “There’s an issue there. We don’t want to call games off but there might be players away.”
United are poised to include Florent Cuvelier and Stefan Scougall in the squad which travels to Spotland with the latter hoping to make his first appearance since December 13.
Defender Neill Collins is also expected to undergo a late fitness test after missing last weekend’s victory over Port Vale due to injury although Adkins will be reticent to change his starting eleven after a positive result.