Micky Adams is fired up for a bid to claim his first win as Sheffield United manager on his return to former club Coventry, writes Alan Biggs.
Adams will order his side to take the game to the opposition despite the hugely depleted nature of his squad.
Although a draw would seem to represent a more than healthy return from the Ricoh Arena, the new Blades boss is acutely aware that only wins will drag United clear of the drop zone.
“I’m not sure if getting a point from games is any good to you,” said Adams. “We’re not setting up to nick a point and I expect an open game.
“Marlon King’s suspension is a blow to Coventry, but they still have players who can hurt you. That said, I’m looking at us being positive rather than what they can do to us.”
There are sound reasons for Adams’ philosophy, not least that United’s current strengths are in attack rather than a defence sorely missing injured kingpin Chris Morgan.
The Blades have conceded 16 goals in their last five games, including nine in the three matches under new management. Against that, they have scored nine at the other end. So attack may be the best form of defence.
While there is understandable concern about the number of goals needed to win a match, the odds seem to favour an offensive approach and it is not in Adams’ nature to sit back.
Furthermore, Coventry have been beaten five times at the Ricoh this season, winning less than half their home games. Adams will hope, though, that United tighten up as a unit from front to back to give them a better chance on his return to the Sky Blues.
He added: “I’ve been a player and manager there so it goes without saying it’s a big game for me. Taking all that aside, we’ve got to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later.
“We need three points to get ourselves up the table and we’ll try to win.”
There are few chinks of light in the treatment room, even though Stephen Jordan and Matt Lowton have made it as far as the training ground without joining in as yet.
But Adams glimpses a ray of sunshine in that striker Darius Henderson, out all season so far and a big miss, could be back well before the end of the campaign.
“Darius is working hard at his rehabilitation,” said Adams. “He’s still four to six weeks away but has all the attributes to be a force at this level. Everybody’s looking for a big target man.”
Attempts to reinforce the squad with experienced players are ongoing. “We’re trying hard behind the scenes,” he added. “There are irons in the fire, we’ve made a few offers to people and we’re talking to lots of clubs and agents. We’re having to be patient, but I’m sure it will happen.”
A bench full of young, unknown players underlines the urgency - “and we are having difficulty finding enough bodies for training as well,” said the manager.
Adams doesn’t want to plunge any of them in at the deep end but can’t discount such a contingency. “While I’ve enjoyed working with them, I’d rather see them play first and there have been no reserve games for a while,” he pointed out.
“Until then I can’t get too excited. In the current climate, it might be slightly unfair on these kids to play them - but we can’t rule out the possibility because of the numbers we’ve got. We’re down to the bare bones.”