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Adkins pleased with progress

21 July 2015

After kicking off the senior pre-season friendlies fixture list with a victory at Ilkeston and looking forward to a couple of days in the west country, Nigel Adkins declared himself pleased with the progress being made.

The new manager took his place on the touchline in a Blades tie for the first time as United faced non-league Ilkeston FC on Saturday, a late goal from teenager Dominic Calvert-Lewin securing a 1-0 win.

"It was the plan to give everyone 45 minutes, in the end Flo (Cuvelier) came off as a precaution and we threw on Louis Reed, but it was a good work-out, just what we needed.

"Keeping a clean sheet was pleasing but there's a lot more for us to do. Diego (De Girolamo) and Michael (Higdon) both had chances, but it was all about getting minutes in the legs. We've spent three weeks doing lots of fitness work and now we can start doing more with regards to tactics.

"We had Brayford, Flynn, Kennedy, Done, Alcock and Coutts all out injured and we didn't want to risk Martyn Woolford after just a couple of days training, but the rest of the lads all featured. Kieran Wallace and Connor Dimaio, who went in at full-back, have never played those positions before and they coped admirably. The make-up of the squad we have at this moment dictated that but they did very well."

Looking ahead, Adkins added: "The focus now turns to the games at Cheltenham (Tuesday) and Exeter (Thursday), which should also be interesting tests.

"We'll look to start pushing the lads up to 60 minutes as fitness builds, whilst being away for a few days gives myself and the coaching staff the opportunity to get to know the lads better at close quarters.

"I'm hoping both fixtures provide us with good tests, results aren't hugely important at this stage, fitness is the key, but we'll be taking in more and more as we build up to the Newcastle fixture next weekend."

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