Laying down a permanent marker

Looking ahead: Lane boss Micky Adams wants cut back on loan deals.
Looking ahead: Lane boss Micky Adams wants cut back on loan deals.
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SHEFFIELD United’s acquisition of Neill Collins and Michael Doyle marks the first phase of the club’s efforts to repair its damaged reputation, manager Micky Adams confirmed last night.

Admitting that an over-reliance on short-term signings has contributed to his team’s perilous predicament in the Championship table, the 49-year-old insisted their arrival on permanent deals would help usher in a new period of stability behind the scenes at Bramall Lane.

“We’ve got to have a strategy to improve and they are part of it,” Adams said. “I think everyone would agree that there have been far too many loans coming into this club of late.

“That’s not to criticise those who are here on loan – far from it, because they’re giving me their all – but you’ve got to have a strategy whereby you are building something and those two are part of that.”

With United’s board of directors cutting expenditure in response to the global recession and the loss of their Premier League parachute payments, Adams, like his recent predecessors, has largely been forced to recruit on a temporary basis. However, he has attempted to foster greater cohesion behind the scenes by encouraging the likes of Shane Lowry, Marcus Bent and Joe Mattock, who misses today’s visit to Ipswich Town because of injury, to earn permanent deals.

United travelled to Suffolk last night in 22nd place having slipped into the bottom three following Tuesday’s defeat by Leicester City.

Speaking after that match, Foxes boss Sven Goran Eriksson admitted City had survived their “toughest test of the season so far.”

Collins - who was ineligible for selection after completing his move from Leeds less than 24 hours before – and Doyle, the former Coventry midfielder, are both expected to feature at Portman Road.

Adams, still searching for his first win since taking charge five weeks ago, said: “It’s been a tough baptism but it’s not the toughest I’ve ever had. Not by a long chalk. Every time I’ve gone in somewhere it’s been tough. That’s the way it is.

“You’ve got to try and restore the confidence of players who might have got a bit down by losing but the lads here have shown an excellent attitude.

“I don’t think they’ve got what they’ve deserved, I really don’t.

“How do we keep their spirits up? We’ve been showing them the DVDs and the ProZone stats which prove just how they’ve hustled teams like Leicester out of their stride.”