Blades digging in for long-term drop battle

Sheffield United manager: Micky Adams.
Sheffield United manager: Micky Adams.
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SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams last night warned his players that their battle for Championship survival will NOT be decided at Crystal Palace or Scunthorpe.

United travel to Selhurst Park today knowing a victory would lift them out of the relegation zone ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Ian Baraclough’s side in Lincolnshire.

Despite refusing to underestimate the importance of either game, Adams said: “Whatever happens in these two, even if we win both, we are still in the mire. Nothing is going to be certain - either way - after these two matches. There are still a lot of games to be played and that means a lot can happen. They are all as important as each other.”

Adams, whose side moved to within two points of this afternoon’s opponents with a 1-1 draw against Reading in midweek, is still waiting for his first success since taking charge at Bramall Lane in December.

Asked whether his comments were designed to reduce the pressure on United ahead of two contests set to have a huge bearing on the remainder of the season, he responded: “I can tell the lads whatever I want but I’m sure they all read the newspapers and look at the league tables. They know these are important.”

Palace, who are one place above United in 21st, have not been beaten on home soil since October.

Scunthorpe, directly below United in the rankings, stunned promotion-chasing Nottingham Forest with a 1-0 victory at Glanford Park three days ago.

Nevertheless, Dougie Freedman, Adams’ counterpart in the capital, is convinced that Palace’s future will be settled on the road.

Speaking after their 2-1 defeat at Coventry City last Saturday, he said: “I was disappointed with the result but not the performance. I saw enough out there to work with.”