Nigel Adkins has leapt to Jay McEveley’s defence following criticism of the Sheffield United captain’s display against Bury, writes James Shield.
And Adkins, speaking ahead of this evening’s meeting with Colchester, rubbished suggestions that the responsibility of being his commander-in-chief on the pitch could have a detrimental effect upon McEveley’s performances.
United slipped to fifth in the League One table when they were beaten by David Flitcroft’s side last weekend and although Adkins conceded McEveley had made “a couple of mistakes,” he said: “I’m hard with the players and always honest so people know where they stand. Likewise, though, I’m also very protective of my players.
“There are enough people from the opposition trying to make life difficult for us. So it’s all about ‘us’ and ‘we.’
“Yes, Jay made a couple of mistakes and people will highlight that. We’ve had an honest conversation as always.
“But equally, at every football club, somebody always gets highlighted and, maybe at this moment in time, it’s Jay.”
United will climb to third if they beat the visitors from Essex. Midfielder Jose Baxter is available after serving a three match suspension but England under-20 international Che Adams is again expected to be absent due to illness.
Adkins added: “You can make a mistake once, everybody does that, you are allowed to make them. What we don’t want is for any of us to keep replicating the same mistake.
“Jay got the armband because he has been exemplary in training and around the whole club. People don’t always see what he contributes behind the scenes on a day to day basis.
“I’m going on what has happened since I have come in. That’s what I go on, not what has happened before.
“And, in any case, we have a leadership group. It’s not just about one person being the leader. Everybody, in their own different ways, can contribute to that.”