Win or bust: Sheffield United must now take full points to survive

Down and almost out: Bjorn Helge Riise suffers as the Blades take another step nearer the drop.
Down and almost out: Bjorn Helge Riise suffers as the Blades take another step nearer the drop.
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SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams last night admitted he could give Bramall Lane’s FA Youth Cup finalists a opportunity to impress on the Championship stage after conceding the South Yorkshire club need to win all of their remaining five games to stand any chance of avoiding relegation.

Goals from Cardiff City’s Craig Bellamy and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas condemned United to their 24th defeat of the season and ensured they remain bottom of the table ahead of Saturday’s visit to Preston North End.

A commanding performance from teenage debutant Harry Maguire provided some much-needed encouragement for Adams on an otherwise disappointing evening and he later admitted: “It’s not all doom and gloom. It took an 18-year-old kid to put Bellamy on his backside and that was great to see.

“Harry has still got plenty to learn but he did what we asked of him out there.

“I’ve got a lot of thinking to do between now and then to decide what direction we are going to take. We won’t be playing the entire youth team but going some way down that route is an option, yes.”

With United now eight points adrift of safety, Adams added: “It’s not over but we’ve got to go on the type of run that we’ve not been on all season.”

Dave Jones, whose team climb to second, expressed sympathy for “old mate” Adams. He said: “I feel for him but it wouldn’t have mattered whether it was my son, brother or wife in the other dug-out. This is a ruthless business. I’ll be having a drink with Micky but he won’t want to hear any hard-luck stories from me.”

Adams’ mood was not helped by news that Marvin Emnes, whose late strike denied United a draw against Middlesbrough last weekend, had been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

Adams complained the Dutchman should have been sent off before netting a late winner for Tony Mowbray’s men after appearing to lash-out at Michael Doyle.

Emnes’ alleged indiscretion was not punished by referee Andy Woolmer.