Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins hopes Alex Baptiste, the former Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool defender, will not be his only capture of the emergency loan window after opening talks with two more potential targets.
Baptiste played 29 minutes of last night’s 1-0 defeat to leaders Burton Albion after completing his temporary transfer from Middlesbrough and is scheduled to remain at Bramall Lane until the end of the present campaign.
The Star understands that Adkins, whose side are 12th in the League One table, also wants to unveil a new winger before this weekend’s visit to Fleetwood Town although he refused to divulge the details of his recruitment strategy following yesterday’s game.
Despite being reluctant to identify United’s targets, Adkins refused to pull any punches when assessing their display against Albion.
“It was a bad result and a bad performance,” he said. “This is a fantastic football club and it’s our responsibility to represent it and excite the crowd. Maybe it’s becoming more evident (there are people who can’t) because you get judged in the arena.
“We weren’t good enough. And that, for me, is disappointing. Well, it’s bloody annoying if you want the God’s honest truth.”
“Win your duels,” Adkins added. “Be better than them. Don’t give away shocking goals.
“I’ve tried to protect the players but that wasn’t good enough. I’m trying to choose my words carefully. But there needs to be change because that wasn’t good enough. Talk is cheap. Just go out there and do it.”
Baptiste, aged 30, was Aitor Karanka’s first signing of the close season with Wanderers thought to have received a near £2m for his services.
But the centre-half, who can also operate at full-back, sustained a serious leg injury during a friendly at York City and has yet to make a senior appearance for the Championship club despite proving his fitness at its Rockcliffe Park training complex.
“Alex looked assured out there,” Adkins said. “We are pleased to bring him in.”
Baptiste started his career with Mansfield Town and helped Blackpool win promotion, via the play-offs, to the Premier League in 2010. Should United also qualify for the end of season knockouts - they trail sixth-placed Coventry City by six points - he would be eligible for selection under the terms of his agreement although Middlesborough can invoke a recall clause after 28 days.