Nigel Adkins absolved Harrison McGahey of any responsibility for Sheffield United’s failure to beat Oldham Athletic after praising the youngster’s performance at Boundary Park.
Adkins described McGahey, making his fifth appearance of the season, as “looking very assured” during the 1-1 draw which left the visitors sixth in the table ahead of tomorrow’s game against Fleetwood Town.
“I thought Harrison had a super game,” the United manager said. “He looked comfortable, composed and won his battles in the air. Yes, sometimes he makes mistakes because he’s young and he’s learning. But he did everything we could have asked of him out there.
“He’s good on the ball and he’s quick too so those are good qualities to have.”
McGahey has failed to command a regular place in United’s starting 11 since arriving from Blackpool last season, but Adkins added: “You can see that Harrison is getting better and better all the time. He’s looking very assured, I think.
“He needs game-time to keep on developing and, yes, he’s probably going to make some errors, which is fair enough, but that’s how you learn and improve. The fitter he’s getting, the better he’s getting and the more his confidence is coming on too.
With fellow centre-half David Edgar expected to miss Tuesday and Saturday’s meeting with Millwall due to injury, the United manager admitted McGahey’s progress could prove timely, although Terry Kennedy was fit enough to be named on the bench at Oldham.
“We’re still not quite sure how long David will be,” Adkins said. “This week, though, could come too quick for him. He’s receiving treatment on his hamstring. The problem is around the attachment area so we’ll have to wait and see how he is.
“But it can be difficult to put an exact timescale on injuries of that nature. He’s working very hard.”