Sheffield United are unlikely to block Doncaster Rovers’ request to sign on-loan defender Craig Alcock.
The full-back, who worked with Rovers manager Darren Ferguson at Peterborough before moving to Bramall Lane July 2014, is expected to join United’s League One rivals on a permanent basis later this month.
Alternatively, Ferguson could extend Alcock’s temporary agreement until the end of the season when his contract with Nigel Adkins’ side expires.
Adkins, speaking before Saturday’s game against the 28-year-old’s former club, acknowledged he is set to trim the size of United’s first-team squad after describing it as “bloated” following several major recruitment drives.
“You’ve got to make tough decisions and that’s what I’ll do,” Adkins, who was appointed during the close season, said. “I’ve never shied away from those.
“All the players realise that I’ll be honest with them.
“Everyone wants to play all the time, but the fact is, when everyone is fit, we have got too many players.
“But I’m the one who’s going to have to come to those decisions.”
Alcock made five appearances for United ahead of his switch to the Keepmoat Stadium.
With John Brayford, a £1.5 million acquisition from Cardiff City now recovered from a serious knee injury, Adkins has a surfeit of options at full-back, with Kieron Freeman and Kieran Wallace also vying for starting roles.
United’s Steelphalt Academy youth system, coaching staff are determined to ensure “pathways” exist for young players attempting to progress through the ranks.
“It’s vital that those are there,” Adkins said.
“There has always got to be a route for people coming through.”
“We’ve got people back from injury and coming back to fitness now, which has helped with making consistent selections.”