Injured defender Neill Collins should be “there or thereabouts” for Sheffield United’s home clash with Port Vale this weekend, manager Nigel Adkins has revealed.
The Scottish defender missed Tuesday evening’s defeat at Bury with an ankle injury, sustained in the victory at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
Adkins admits he left it late before ruling Collins out of the game at Gigg Lane, but expects him to return to the squad for Saturday’s game against Rob Page’s Vale - who are level on points with United, and a place behind them in the League One standings.
“Neill landed heavily when he headed the ball against the crossbar at Doncaster but got through the 90 minutes,” the United manager said.
“We left it until the morning of the Bury game but he wasn’t right and so I had to make the call.
“We’ll keep working on it and we think he should be there or thereabouts for the weekend.”
In Collins’ absence, Chris Basham partnered David Edgar at the heart of United’s defence, but United succumbed to their first away league defeat since October when Craig Jones curled home from 20 yards.
United’s travelling fans voiced their displeasure at the final whistle, and Adkins admitted: “Because of where we are in the division, people are going to be very negative and upset. We’re mid-table in League One and it’s not good enough.
“Like us, the fans are disappointed. That’s understandable; we want to be at that next level.
“The games about goals, and they got one and we didn’t. It was another world class strike, too; you just need that bit of luck at times.”
Billy Sharp, back on the bench after a foot injury kept him out of the Doncaster derby, was introduced in the second half to give United some impetus but he and fellow substitute Matt Done couldn’t make the difference.
“We introduced Billy and Matt in an attempt to be positive and force the play,” Adkins added.
“We went to three at the back in an endeavour to try and win.
“We tried to get on the front foot and use the confidence and positivity from the weekend. We wanted to win the game and made a bright start.
“But because we haven’t, the repercussions are obviously going to be there and people will be despondent.”
United, meanwhile, will today allow Bob Harris to join League One rivals Fleetwood Town until the end of the season after recovering from injury. The defender, previously of Blackpool, has not featured since December’s game against Oldham Athletic.