Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins last night welcomed Craig Alcock’s return from injury as his team prepares to renew its rivalry with Swindon Town, writes James Shield.
Alcock made his first senior appearance since May’s League One play-off semi-final, which ended 7-6 in the Wiltshire club’s favour, against Fulham in midweek and, with Kieran Wallace serving a one match ban, could be set to start this afternoon’s match at the County Ground.
“Craig is a good footballer,” Adkins said. “He’s been out for a period of time which you could see down there in London but’s he’s a good, valuable option for us. And, potentially, a very timely one too.”
Adkins, who was appointed soon after the second-leg of United’s momentous double-header with Town, is also without Jose Baxter following his dismissal at Craven Cottage. But despite seeing Terry Kennedy and Ryan Flynn continue their rehabilitations from knee and Achilles complaints respectively, will resist the temptation to select them today; preferring instead to save them for Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at Hartlepool.
“It’s great to see them coming back and they’ve had a game for the under-21’s but it’s still very early stages,” Adkins said. “We won’t consider them here, I don’t think, but there’s a chance, all things being equal, that they’ll get some game time at Hartlepool.”
Adkins, who has previously stated he “expects” United to challenge for promotion, is adamant Town, their opponents in last term’s play-off semi-finals, will also be “there or there abouts.”
“I would have thought so,” he said. “They play in a way that, for me, is good. It’s exciting to watch and again, playing out from the goalkeeper; it gives them an opportunity to control the game.
“I’m sure the experience of them missing out at Wembley last year; they’ll be galvanised from that and they’ll be looking to be there at the end of the season. They’re a good team but we’ve done our research.”