Jay McEveley appears in pole position to become Sheffield United’s new captain although Nigel Adkins, the League One club’s manager, admits a binding decision will not be taken until next week.
McEveley has performed the role during four of United’s five pre-season fixtures since Adkins was appointed last month.
But, speaking ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Hull City (kick-off 3pm), Adkins stopped short of confirming if he will be unveiled as Michael Doyle’s permanent successor when United return to competitive action at Gillingham on August 8.
“Jay, as you’ve seen, had the armband once again at Macclesfield on Tuesday evening,” Adkins told The Star. “Will he have it for our first game proper? You’ll just have to wait and see.
“Jay has done really well. But we want a leadership group rather than just one individual.
“We want all of the players to take responsibility for themselves, for situations and for their team mates.”
Adkins’ decision to stop short of offering McEveley, the former Swindon Town defender, a cast-iron guarantee suggests United could also consider asking a new player to fill the vacancy created by Doyle’s departure 11 weeks ago.
Adkins, who team enters the meeting with City having won four and drawn one of its outings so far, wants to bolster his options at centre-half after losing Harrison McGahey and Terry Kennedy to injury.
John Brayford deputised for Doyle during the closing stages of last season but has been ruled-out until at least November with damaged knee ligaments.
“On the field of play, (assistant) Andy (Crosby), (Dean) Wilkins (first-team coach) and myself don’t want to be ranting and raving from the sidelines,” Adkins said. “The lads need to be able to spot danger themselves.
“They need to show a camaraderie themselves, they need to be able to put an arm around the shoulder of a team mate and gee each other up.
“It shouldn’t all be coming from us. We want them to be doing it out there. We’ve been delighted with the attitude and application they’ve shown so far though.”
Steve Bruce, the City manager, last night confirmed he hopes to unveil “a couple” of new signings before the visit to Bramall Lane. James Chester, Robbie Brady and former United midfielder Stephen Quinn have all departed the KC Stadium since being relegated from the Premier League.
“There’s no doubt it’s been a difficult couple of weeks,” said Bruce. “Everybody understands that and hopefully in the next few weeks we can start to do our business.
“We have had to wait and sit around for people to come back from work. June was a non-entity for everybody and it’s starting to pick up.”