Sheffield United: ‘Don’t under-estimate Nigel Adkins’

Chris Wilder has warned Nigel Adkins, his Hull City counterpart, remains a formidable adversary despite enduring a difficult spell in charge of Sheffield United.

Saturday, 20th April 2019, 10:20 am
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2019, 7:12 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has respect for Nigel Adkins: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

Wilder, who replaced Adkins at Bramall Lane three years ago, insisted his predecessors' problems in South Yorkshire should not distract from a track record of success elsewhere; including the KCOM Stadium where their respective teams meet tomorrow.

Adkins led United to mid-table finish in League One during his sole season in charge but, after returning to management with City, has performed wonders by leading the club out of the Championship's relegation zone and into play-off contention.

Although Good Friday's defeat by West Bromwich Albion appears to have dashed their top six hopes, Wilder said: "There's an ex-manager there who has done fantastically well. This isn't speaking out of turn, maybe it just didn't go well for Nigel at one football club.

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"But look at his track record. It's excellent and he's got his team challenging again, pushing to get in the play-offs. So there's a bit of added spice."

Adkins, who Scunthorpe to promotion before steering Southampton out of the third tier and into the Premier League, has won two of his three outings against United since being appointed by City in December 2017.

Wilder is hoping to replicate the 54-year-old's achievements at St Mary's but, with United entering the fixture in second with only three matches of the season remaining, knows anything other than victory could see Leeds climb back into the runners-up berth. Marcelo Bielsa's squad, who face Brentford in the evening kick-off, trail United on goal difference after losing to Wigan Athletic on Good Friday.

"I've never looked at the run in but they are tough games," Wilder, whose players face Ipswich Town and Stoke after City, said. "It's never easy. It never, ever is. Teams are fighting for their lives to stay in the division, fighting to go up or for professional pride."