Influential defender admits fears over Sheffield United future before key change

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Chris Basham, the Bramall Lane fans’ favourite, admits he feared for his Sheffield United future after the appointment of Slavisa Jokanović last summer.

Jokanović, appointed after United’s relegation from the Premier League, changed the club’s shape from the 3-5-2 formation that had brought them so much success and Basham was the odd man out following a return to a back four.

Following the Serb’s sacking, Paul Heckingbottom restored the back three after his appointment and United – and Basham – have not looked back, with the Blades travelling to Preston North End this weekend top of the Championship table and Basham agreeing a new two-year deal last season that will take him to 10 years as a Blade.

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“When he changed the formation, it was always going to be tough for us,” Basham admitted on Alan Biggs’ Sheffield Live TV show this week.

“When he changed the way he wanted us to play, it was tough but I never changed my attitude.

"I knew the fans know what I’m all about and the lads too and I didn’t want to show an attitude that I didn’t want to be a part of it.

“I wanted to get into his thoughts and his mindset and before the end and he got sacked I did start playing under him and I was the first to say thank you very much. He showed me things I’d never seen before and had before in my career.

“No one disrespected him when he was here, it was just hard that we didn’t get off to a good enough start. But yes, I was fearing leaving Sheffield United. I didn’t want to shy away from the task in front of us.”

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After returning to the United side from the start at Swansea City last time out, Basham could line up once again alongside his heir apparent Anel Ahmedhodžić at Preston this weekend if Heckingbottom and his coaching staff decide, as expected, to continue with their 3-5-2 formation.

“We all know there’s a target on our backs,” Basham added, “but there’s nothing better than that because you know you have to keep producing.

Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/SportimageJack O’Connell and Chris Basham of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“Consistency is key in this league and if you can keep clean sheets and score goals, it’s inevitable what could happen come the end of the season. Hopefully we’ll be dancing about in May.”

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