I like and respect Nigel Adkins but I’m no apologist for him.
Sheffield United’s season - to date - has been an abject failure. The man himself is the last to hide from reality, having boldly accepted last summer that nothing less than automatic promotion was expected of him.
After only eight months in the job, you can’t help but fear for Adkins based on his club’s usual default position. Losing tamely at struggling Bury, amid fairly feeble form all round, is plainly unacceptable with a large squad and a high wage bill. No getting away from that or putting all the blame on the board.
But no escaping either the reason why the Blades, as a club from top to bottom, appear to be in such disarray. Too many changes have contributed to a proven manager flailing about in mid-stream. Let’s remember also that the season is far from over. For all the collective faults, the play-offs are more than attainable with a decent run.
The temptation for the hierarchy is to think that a change of manager will spark a response, as often it does. But they’ve tried it before. Long-term fixes require clear strategy and longer-term patience. Of which both have seemed to be lacking.
Besides, does a manager truly fail after less than a season and effectively just one active transfer window? It’s sensible to suggest not after all the frustration of January, allowing that Adkins’ summer dealing left question marks.
Time for some courage not least from the players in a highly-pressurised home game with Rob Page’s impressively over-achieving Port Vale on Saturday.