MICKY Adams, the Sheffield United manager, has torn up plans to relax his players’ schedule during the international break.
Coaching staff at the South Yorkshire club initially wanted to use this weekend’s round of Euro 2012 qualifiers as an opportunity for rest and recuperation as they enter the closing stages of their battle for Championship survival.
But Adams admitted that idea had been consigned to the dustbin long before last weekend’s victory over Leeds.
That result left United 22nd in the table and four points adrift of safety following Crystal Palace’s draw with Derby County and
Scunthorpe’s defeat at Ipswich Town.
“Ideally you’d want to give the lads a bit of time off,” admitted Adams. “But I can’t see how we’ll be doing that now.
“We’ll be working instead. That’s the way it’s going to have to be because there’s too much to do.”
Ched Evans is United’s most notable absentee having been selected in the Wales squad for Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated meeting with England at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
With Sam Vokes joining him at The Vale Hotel in Glamorgan and Daniel Bogdanovic due to represent Malta against Greece, United’s ability to fine-tune their attacking strategies will be limited.
Bjorn Helge Riise, who could be poised to win his 28th cap for Norway against Denmark this weekend, is another player unlikely to be at Adams’ disposal after scoring against their arch-rivals from West Yorkshire.
Instead, attention is expected to focus on a defence which, despite keeping a clean sheet against Simon Grayson’s side, had conceded nine goals in its previous six outings.
Adams, who could be tempted to draft in fresh reinforcements before Thursday’s deadline for loan signings if Neill Collins’ injury turns out to be more serious than first feared, said: “We are always looking. We’ve had a few knock-backs but that’s what you come to expect. Not everyone wants to get involved in a situation like this but that’s life and we get on with it.
“We kept Neill’s injury quiet.”
Centre-half Shane Lowry, youngster George Willis and Jordan Slew complete United’s international contingent with Matt Harriott on stand-by to join the latter with England’s under-19s in Holland before United return to action at Queens Park Rangers next month.
Lowry has been invited to join Australia’s preparations for their forthcoming friendly with Germany while Willis could feature for England in their Victory Shield tie against Northern Ireland.