A veteran of numerous play-off campaigns both as a player and a coach, twice securing promotion via this route, Heckingbottom made the claim ahead of Saturday’s semi-final first leg against Nottingham Forest at Bramall Lane.
Heckingbottom’s experiences with both Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday will prove invaluable as United attempt to regain top flight status at the first attempt.
“For me, this is a whole new tournament, a whole new ball game if you like,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like ‘normal’ football if you want to put it like that. The challenges are different, the pressures are different and the demands are different. It’s a cup competition with a huge prize at the end of it.”
“What you do,” he continued, “Is recognise all of that but approach it in the same calm and composed manner you would always do.”
Cooper, Heckingbottom’s counterpart in the east Midlands, has qualified for the play-offs in each of the past three years having twice guided Swansea City into the top six before taking charge of Forest.
United travel to the City Ground next Tuesday evening and Heckingbottom said: “Take them for what they are and embrace them. The games, they take care of themselves.”