MICKY Adams’ mobile has been glued almost permanently to his ear since being appointed as Sheffield United manager five games ago.
So, as the telephone networks went into overdrive last night, the opportunity to discuss Leicester City’s imminent arrival with the press surely represented a welcome break from the nerve-shredding drama that is transfer deadline day?
“Of course it is because I love chatting with you guys. It’s always a pleasure.”
Adams was in good form as he contemplated the sixth match of his reign with South Yorkshire’s Fourth Estate.
That all important first win remains elusive but the 49-year-old’s mood has been buoyed by the fact that, despite finding themselves perilously close to the relegation zone, United appear to have embraced his never-say-die approach.
Their recent defeat by Norwich might have been cloaked in controversy – Adams claiming with some justification that both of the visitors’ goals should have been disallowed – but a spirited display helped improve the atmosphere in Bramall Lane’s bootroom,
“I didn’t enjoy the result but there were a lot of positives to take from the performance,” Adams insisted. “The attitude was good.
“The boys have shown that they’ve still got a lot of fight in them. That’s they’re not prepared to give-up on anything.”
Having enjoyed a weekend off courtesy of the FA Cup, Adams has finally been able to start working on tactics rather than temperament alone.
Marcus Bent, the striker he signed on loan from Birmingham City, is expected to feature against Sven Goran Eriksson’s side. Midfielder Michael Doyle, a permanent capture from Coventry, appears another likely starter.
“Marcus and the rest of the lads have had a good 10 days worth of work and they’ve responded to that well,” said Adams.
“Coming in when I did, when there were so many games, we didn’t have a chance to prepare as much as we would have liked.
“But that’s not an excuse and there are certainly going to be no excuses from me now either.”
Adams, who admitted that promotion chasing City will pose “another big test” for his squad, spent 30 months in charge of this evening’s opponents. Inheriting a club threatened with extinction - “administration is horrible for everyone involved” - he steadied the ship before leading them to promotion in 2003.
“I had a good time there,” said Adams. “I still live in Leicestershire so I see their fans on a daily basis. It’s a fantastic club and they’re signing Premier League players on good money now so they’re definitely going for it.
“They’re paying big money.
“It was tough to start with but we were able to galvanise things and then take it from there.
“I think that shows that my methods do work eventually.”
United, who are 21st in the npower Championship table, drew 2-2 with Eriksson’s men at The Walkers Stadium in November. Mark Yeates scored twice.