Sheffield United: Adkins big on power players for Blades

Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins
Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins
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Nigel Adkins has admitted taking deliberate steps to improve the physical power of his squad.

The Sheffield United manager made the confession as he presses ahead with plans to sign “a couple” of new players before next month’s transfer deadline.

Adkins, speaking after Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Colchester, said: “I made it plain at the start, right from the beginning, that I wanted six big uns in the team. I want us to be the biggest in the division, I want us to be the fittest and I want us to be the strongest. I want us to be powerful and a threat.”

The former Scunthorpe and Southampton manager, whose side return to action against Swindon Town on Saturday, identified United’s lack of height as a potential weakness immediately after taking charge in June and has since taken steps to address the matter.

Only one of his five acquisitions so far - centre-forward Billy Sharp - is under six feet tall.

Citing the combative nature of League One, Adkins added: “You have to be big. 30 per cent of goals are scored from set-plays and so you need the qualities out there to exploit that and make them count.”

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Adkins, who delegates responsibility for devising set-piece routines to his assistant, Andy Crosby, has made no secret of his admiration for Fulham’s Dan Burn, who stands at 6ft 7in, after twice failing to lure the defender to Bramall Lane.

The Blades’ winning goal at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, scored by David Edgar, came from a corner.

Dismissing fears that stature rather than quality could dictate United’s team selections, Adkins said: “Of course you can still have small players. It’s all about the mix. Look at Lionel Messi, he’s not a giant, is he? It’s all about balance. You need people to do the unfashionable things and you need people to get the supporters off their seats.”