Nigel Adkins has promised every member of his squad a clean slate as the battle for starting places at Bramall Lane prepares to begin in earnest, writes James Shield.
The 50-year-old will meet Sheffield United’s squad for the first time since taking charge of the League One club next week when members descend upon the Redtooth Academy for a series of medical and fitness tests.
Adkins, despite analysing video footage of United’s performances last season, insisted that preconceived ideas about their strengths and weaknesses must not be allowed to influence the selection process.
“I’ve watched them on television and, of course, we are aware of what some of them can do after coming-up against them in the past,” he said. “But watching them on television is very different to actually working with them in the flesh.”
Adkins, who was appointed as United manager earlier this month, will be assisted by Andy Crosby and Dean Wilkins while Chris Morgan and Darren Ward retained their places on the backroom staff following Nigel Clough’s departure.
United open their latest campaign with a visit to Gillingham in August and Adkins said: “We can’t wait to get started. It will be hard work but I’m really excited about the prospect.
“We’re really looking forward to getting out there and working with the players on the training pitch. We won’t be cutting corners because there are no guarantees.”
United begin their programme of pre-season friendlies at Ilkeston on Saturday 18 July. (Kick-off 3pm). The fixture forms part of a reciprocal agreement the non-league club brokered when Che Adams moved to South Yorkshire in November.
The teenager, who subsequently scored twice during the second-leg of United’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur, was later joined at Bramall Lane by former Ilkeston colleague Kieran Wallace.
“We’ll have an open mind about everything,” Adkins said. “The players who are here and ones we might look to bring in.”