Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, has reminded his players of their responsibilities as he attempts to keep opponents guessing through the forthcoming campaign, writes James Shield.
Adkins, speaking ahead of this afternoon’s game against Gillingham, admittedly he is particularly concerned about selection policy being accidentally leaked via the internet despite being an advocate of social media himself.
“Yes, things can go on there inadvertently,” he told The Star. “We’ve seen it happen elsewhere.
“But we all have the same goal, we all have the same target and we share common interests so, naturally, it makes sense to avoid doing that.”
United are expected to be missing several influential performers, including Matt Done and Ryan Flynn, when they begin the new League One season at Priestfield although Adkins, appointed following Nigel Clough’s departure in May, revealed Jamal Campbell-Ryce had resumed light training on Thursday following a hamstring complaint.
In a marked departure from the methods employed by his predecessor, the former Southampton and Scunthorpe chief confirmed United’s squad had been informed of the starting eleven before travelling to Kent. Clough, by contrast, often used to delay making an announcement until an hour before games.
“I’ve always tried to name my team on a Friday morning,” Adkins said. “Players like to know what they are doing before bed.
“We give them plenty of information and it gives, in my opinion, them time to digest that. Planning and preparation is important.”
“There’s another train of thought and that’s to leave it so the other team doesn’t find out,” he continued. “The same goes for injuries.
“Sometimes we might come across as being defensive. We’re not, we just don’t want others to find out.”
“On my Pro Licence, I researched when managers choose to name their teams. There’s no right or wrong way. This is just my preference.”
United, who reached the play-off semi-finals last term, have adjusted quickly to Adkins’ methods, winning four and drawing two of their six warm-up fixtures.
Another departure from the previous regime is the relaying of information about the opposition. Which is often gathered, Adkins acknowledged, by Machiavellian means.
“We make our players aware of the strengths and weakness they are likely to face,” he said. “For example, Gillingham have got a lad who has got a very long throw and they’ve been trying to keep that under wraps throughout pre-season.
“But we need to know about that. Be switched on and be aware.”