Nigel Adkins believes he will become an even better manager following his experiences at Bramall Lane this season.
Sheffield United were installed as strong favourites to lift the League One title when they appointed the 51-year-old in June but, 10 months later and with a serious promotion challenge failing to materialise, are now contemplating a sixth consecutive season in the third tier.
Vowing to learn the lessons of a campaign which has been undermined by inconsistent results and the need to build a stable infrastructure behind the scenes, Adkins said: “The experience we have had this year is invaluable. It will help me as a manager going forward.
“Different situations you are presented with, it is how you deal with them. Some things you deal with well, others you think you would do them differently next time. That is what experience brings you.”
Adkins, previously of Scunthorpe, Southampton and Reading, inherited a squad of more than 40 professionals when he was unveiled as United’s eighth permanent manager since Neil Warnock’s departure in 2007. His four most recent predecessors, including Nigel Clough and David Weir, have lasted an average of just 12.75 months in the post, and Andy Crosby, Adkins’ assistant, last week cited that turnover in coaching staff as the root cause of those personnel issues.
The number of injuries sustained by United players is also known to have caused Adkins concern, with the club’s medical and recruitment departments tasked with investigating the problem.
“I will review the season at the end. But it is fair to say this has been a tough gig,” Adkins said. “Those, though, are the challenges you face when you come in. This is a great football club but there are many things that challenge you.”