Nigel Adkins has insisted Dean Hammond will prove worth his weight in gold as Sheffield United attempt to execute their promotion masterplan.
Adkins, who signed the midfielder on loan from Leicester City last month, made the claim after predicting United possess the character and experience to hold their nerve when the battle for Championship football enters its decisive phase.
“It’s course and distance,” Adkins, the United manager, said. “I brought in Dean in who was my captain at Southampton and also a fantastic captain at Brighton and Leicester. You talk about professionals and role models and Dean does all the things that people don’t like to see get done; the hard graft and interceptions to keep the whole team ticking. I am delighted we got him as he’s going to grow from strength to strength as we know what he can go and do.”
“It is knowing how to hold your nerve,” Adkins added. “We have been promoted several times now and when you get to that final few months of the season, it’s doing that. If we can get a consistent team and selection, I’d like to think that will lead to a consistency of performance.”
Adkins, who led both Scunthorpe and Southampton out of League One before arriving at Bramall Lane in June, was speaking as eighth-placed United prepare for tomorrow’s visit of Southend.
He said: “Dean is an ultimate professional and that can only rub off on the likes of Louis Reed, for example. You look at the players Dean has played with and some are doing great things such as Morgan Schneiderlin at Manchester United and Jack Cork. Being alongside Dean helped them in their younger years as he helped teach them the game.”