Paul Heckingbottom: What to expect from Sheffield United’s new manager

Written by James Wilson

New Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has vowed to breathe new life into a Blades side languishing in the bottom half of the Championship table.

Previously in charge of the club’s Under-23s side, 44-year-old Heckingbottom has been promoted to the top job to replace the outgoing Slaviša Jokanović, who was sacked yesterday after less than six months in the role.

Speaking at a Bramall Lane press conference yesterday afternoon, Heckingbottom said: “I know the players and I really think that this season can be an exciting one regardless of the start, regardless of where we are right now.”

An academy graduate at Manchester United as a player, Heckingbottom also made 46 appearances for the Blades’ bitter city rivals Sheffield Wednesday between 2004 and 2006.

Following Chris Wilder’s departure as manager in March last year, Heckingbottom assumed caretaker charge of United for the final stage of the Premier League season. He only managed to oversee three victories in eleven matches, however.

The former Hibernian, Leeds and Barnsley boss has announced that he will persevere with a back three formation as he attempts to turn the Blades’ season around.

He said: “There will be variations, whether 3-5-2, 3-4-3 depends on the game but want to try and build on that. I want to get the most out of this squad.”

James Ray, a contributor for Football League website 72.co.uk, is unconvinced about the Heckingbottom hiring.

He said: “I think it’s strange. When he was at Hibs and Leeds he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, he was unable to succeed. It sounds like he’s a popular bloke and he’s a well-liked person, but it seems like an odd appointment.”

Heckingbottom has unveiled an approach built around hard work and collective application, with an onus on everybody coming together to achieve success.

His era as manager of the club will begin with a visit from Bristol City to Bramall Lane on Sunday, with both sides locked together on 23 points in the Championship table. Blades fans will be hoping to enjoy a ‘managerial bounce’ under Heckingbottom’s administration.

“Sunday’s game & this season is most important. We have to go and attack it,” said Sheffield United’s new manager.

Written by James Wilson

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