Micky Adams has had a tough start to his reign at Bramall Lane, with his first two games coming thick and fast after his appointment providing little time to enforce his style and ideas upon the team. Usually the impact of a new manager instantly revitalises a club but worryingly this has not been the case so far but hopefully this is more down to circumstances than anything else.
Adams has stated that his first aim is to avoid relegation for his beloved club. This admission must surely warn supporters that we are in such a predicament and any pre-season talk of challenging for the Premier League is now nothing but a distant memory.
The new boss now has time before the next league game to analyse his personnel on the training ground and improve his squad for the second half of the season should he wish to. He is lucky to have the transfer window open so early in his managerial career..Gary Speed could only use the loan market in his short tenure and was unable to plug some of the obvious gaps left by injury and loss of form. Ultimately this may have led to his downfall.
United fans are desperate for an improvement in results if we are to pull away from the looming threat of relegation. The poor run of form over the festive season has ensured that we are firmly embroiled in a relegation battle.
The next match against Aston Villa in the FA Cup will provide Adams with a chance to see his players in action in a match which, without wanting to devalue the cup, is meaningless in terms of result and the context of the season.
Adams will be looking for his players to stand up and be counted against a tough Premier League outfit. He has stated that he will not rush into the transfer market and panic buy but if a marked improvement is not forthcoming then his hand may well be forced. Crucially the match will give Adams a chance to instill his own management skills and preferences in a less pressurised environment.
From recent games it is clear that if we were to improve our squad in the transfer window then it must be in the defensive department as far too many goals have been conceded recently. The lack of Chris Morgan’s commitment and leadership skills is becoming more and more evident with each passing game. United now have the third worst goal difference in the league and will now have to cope without the services of Andy Taylor who is ruled out for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately United do not have the finances to go out and compete with the bigger clubs in the Championship so Adams will have to use his persuasive techniques and contacts to attract an experienced leader to the Lane. This must happen quickly as other clubs will also be looking at strengthening for the remainder of the season.
Equally, scoring goals has been a problem all season with Darius Henderson suffering his long term injury. None of the strikers have been prolific. Ched Evans has started to score again but we are lacking a consistent 20-goal a season striker which can be the difference between staying up and going down. Richard Creswell has also succumbed to injury which can only add to the situation.
The only shining light in an otherwise frustrating start for Adams has to be the introduction of youngsters to the squad such as Matt Harriott and Elian Parrino. However, I can’t help thinking that experience will be the key to survival this season. These youngsters are good for the long term future of the club but Adams is looking for a quick fix over the next few months.
Adams has a crucial January ahead of him where United’s season could be shaped one way or another. With the commitment of the current crop of players, some sound managerial tactics and with very careful, astute acquisitions United can escape this current predicament.
The one thing we can be sure of is that United’s season is in good hands. Micky Adams will fight to the bitter end to keep this club in the Championship but time is now in short supply.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.