VIDEO: Midfield duo Coutts and Hammond key for Blades, says Adkins

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Manager Nigel Adkins has backed Dean Hammond and Paul Coutts to emerge as the driving force behind Sheffield United’s promotion bid.

Hammond, who was Adkins’ captain as Southampton went from League One to the Premier League in successive seasons, was reunited with the Blades boss on Tuesday after arriving at Bramall Lane on loan from Leicester City.

Hammond made his debut in United’s 3-0 win over Fleetwood that evening, and was replaced by Coutts after an hour.

The former Derby man enjoyed an assured cameo on the ball, and Adkins said: “I have to, first of all, say well done to the club and the owners for bringing Dean in.

“I also thoughts Couttsy did ever so well out there. It was a good half hour for him and we’re trying to generate that competition for places. Couttsy had really good movement.

“Dean could have carried on but he’s not played too much football of late and the last thing we wanted to do, after bringing him in, was to lose him.

Dean Hammond of Sheffield Utd is congratulated by Nigel Adkins after his debut

Dean Hammond of Sheffield Utd is congratulated by Nigel Adkins after his debut

“We’ve had, as we’ve seen, too many players out.”

Hammond, who has initially joined United on loan until January, could make his stay a permanent one after falling out of favour at Premier League Leicester.

Blades: P63