Sheffield United: Manager's defiant statement and bold prediction ahead of Blackpool

Paul Heckingbottom has issued a defiant statement of intent ahead of Sheffield United’s visit to Blackpool on Wednesday, insisting his team’s powers of recovery will make them an even more dangerous proposition at Bloomfield Road.

Monday, 14th March 2022, 5:00 am

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Heckingbottom delivered the message following last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Coventry City, only United’s third loss in Championship competition since the 44-year-old’s appointment in November.

Although he admitted their latest performance fell way below what is expected of a side challenging for the play-offs, Heckingbottom told The Star: “These lads have shown they bounce back. That’s why we’ve been able to climb the league table. Because they’ve been able to put things right and have shown the desire to put things right.

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“We have to treat this as a bump in the road. And that’s what we will do.

“We know the issues and the things we have to put right. We know where we fell short and why it happened, the things that contributed to it.

“But we also know, because we’ve shown it time and time again, that we have the quality and the character to put those things right. We know this group is capable of going out there and doing it again.”

Paul Heckingbottom is backing his Sheffield United team to bounce back at Blackpool: Ashley Crowden / Sportimage

United conceded as many goals at the Coventry Building Society Arena as they had in their 14 previous outings during a difficult afternoon in the Midlands. Despite taking their lead through Sander Berge, they unravelled as the afternoon wore on with Callum O’Hare scoring twice for the hosts and Viktor Gyokeres and Matt Godden claiming one apiece.

To make matters worse, the injury problems which Heckingbottom later admitted are giving him “sleepless nights” showed no signs of abating with striker Oli MBurnie limping-out of the contest with a dead leg. Already missing a number of key performers, United were forced to recall youngster Kacper Lopata from a loan spell at Southend on the eve of their trip to Warwickshire.

Sixteenth in the table when Heckingbottom took charge, United remain in the play-off positions ahead of the meeting with Neil Critchley’s side.

"We’ve spoken in there and we know what went wrong,” Heckingbottom said. “We know why what happened happened. Only (goalkeeper) Wes (Foderingham) can come away from that with his head held high. But this group has shown before what it’s all about.”

Sheffield United conceded as many goals against Coventry as in all of their previous games since losing to Wolves in the FA Cup: Ashley Crowden / Sportimage