By Tony Leighton
Sheffield United's newly installed Manager Micky Adams is aiming to take a leaf out of his own book as he tries to guide the relegation threatened Blades away from the danger end of the npower Championship table.
The 49-year-old Manager, who has joined United from Port Vale after transforming the Valiants from a bottom half of the table npower League 2 team into promotion contenders, is a past master at turning clubs around.
He saved Fulham from dropping out of The Football League and then got them promoted; he led Brighton and then Leicester City to promotion in his first full season as Manager at each club; and he kept Coventry City in the Championship before a year later steering them to an eighth-place finish - still their best placing in the decade since they were relegated from the Premier League.
Adams is now aiming to repeat the trick at Bramall Lane, where the Blades are in a similarly precarious position to the one he inherited at Coventry in January 2005.
Like the Sky Blues back then, United were 20th in the table when Adams took charge on December 30th. Three League games later they have dropped one place but are still two points clear of the relegation zone - and the battle is on as Sheffield-born Adams, a Blades fan since childhood, faces his challenge head-on.
Knowing the situation well from his previous jobs, the Manager pulls no punches. "We need to grind out results and it's not going to be pretty between now and the end of the season," he says. "But I've seen enough amongst the group to know that we're good enough to stay in the division.
"The hard part is convincing the players of that, because losing so many games does affect confidence. I'm here to try to re-build that confidence and after our last two League games, which have been excellent, there's certainly something to work with."
The Blades have yet to register a victory since the arrival of Adams, who is the club's third Manager of the season following the dismissal of Kevin Blackwell and the departure for the Wales job of Gary Speed. But those last two Championship outings - against Doncaster Rovers and Coventry - have brought battling draws and encouraging signs that survival is within the team's capabilities.
They will have plenty of chance to prove those capabilities in front of their own supporters in the coming weeks, with four of their next five games at Bramall Lane.
Hoping that this period could be the springboard to survival, Adams says: "The key to any season is your home form and if you get that right, you've got a chance.
"The aim is simple, to stay up this season and then build on that. There'll be peaks and troughs, I know that - and believe me, it's going to be one helluva ride!"
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