Heckingbottom is hoping to recruit a central defender in this transfer window after identifying that as a weakness in the squad he inherited from Slavisa Jokanović earlier this season.
The Blades only have Jack Robinson as central defensive cover for Chris Basham, John Egan and Ben Davies, with uncertainty surrounding the long-term futures of Basham, who turns 34 in May, and Davies, on loan from Liverpool.
Fleetwood Town’s James Hill, the highly-rated son of former Blades defender Matt, has been linked with United, who would have to fend off interest from a number of other clubs to land the teenager.
And Heckingbottom admitted: “I would like to get on with things if we can. We don't want to be short term in what we can recruit.
“We want to get close to two players in every position, and make sure we are getting the right player in in terms of age, profile and succession planning and things like that.
“We have been really clear on that. If things did change in January - injuries, suspensions, Covid - then you may have to look something that is slightly off plan for the last three months of the season.”
Heckingbottom admits he and his recruitment team have different lists of transfer targets, for different scenarios that may arise.
“We have a list in an ideal world with what we need in terms of age, profile and position, considering then any younger players coming through,” Heckingbottom, whose side have played one game in a month because of Covid-19 issues amongst their opponents, added.
“Then we have the ‘what if?’ scenarios. What if this player goes down? What if we lose this position because we are light? Then that could be a last-minute loan for the remainder of the season.
“We are still right in it in terms of this season, which is the frustrating thing about not having games at the minute. We want to give ourselves the best possible chance this season to win as many games as we can.”