Neill Collins will be given the chance to stake a claim for a role at the heart of Sheffield United’s defence when pre-season training begins, new manager Nigel Adkins has confirmed.
Scottish defender Collins, aged 31, fell out of favour at Bramall Lane during the tenure of Adkins’ predecessor, Nigel Clough, and made only 12 appearances for United last season before being sent on loan to Port Vale.
But with Clough’s dismissal, following United’s failure to reach the League One play-off final last month, Collins looks set to enjoy a clean slate - with Adkins insisting that all players will be given an opportunity to catch his eye in pre-season friendlies against the likes of Matlock Town, Ilkeston and Newcastle United.
“Everyone will be given a chance,” the former Scunthorpe and Southampton manager insisted.
“We’ll get a good opportunity to do that when we all come back for pre-season.
“We’ll be working before then, of course, but that’s when the real work begins.”
“One of the things we try and do is create a good environment here,” Adkins added.
“One where people are given the right platform to improve themselves and what they do. It’s not just the players, that goes for us as well.
“You learn all the time.
“But what we expect in return is absolute commitment. Not 95 or 99 per cent. Because, if you only give that, then it’s not going to be enough.
“This division is a grind. It’s a long hard slog because there are no international breaks or anything like that. It’s game after game after game.
“So that’s the attitude you’ve got to demonstrate if you want to succeed. We, as a team, can draw on our experiences of doing it before.
“But that doesn’t provide any guarantees because every season throws up different challenges.
“We’ll be looking to work with the players we have, improve as a unit right the way across the group and try to build something special, within the framework of Financial Fair Play and SCMP [Salary Cost Management Protocol].
“If there is unity across the whole club, between the footballing side and the fans, then we have a greater chance of achieving what we all want. Which is success for this football club.
“I’m very excited to be here.”