Sheffield United boss's demand of his squad as he offers Blackburn Rovers assessment

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Paul Heckingbottom has told his Sheffield United side to continue attacking games with positivity and confidence as they prepare to face Championship leaders Blackburn Rovers tomorrow afternoon.

United can go top of the formative Championship table with victory over Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side, if results elsewhere go their way.

Defender John Egan was quick to point out that no medals or trophies are handed out for where teams sit in August and September, but United’s start to the season has been impressive given the potential of a hangover from their play-off defeat to Nottingham Forest at the end of the last campaign.

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Blackburn, who fell short of making the top six despite threatening for most of the season, have been the early pace-setters this time around and despite a shock defeat to Reading in midweek, Heckingbottom said: “They’ve had a good start.

“They’ll be disappointed with the Reading result but they’re top of the league so we know it’ll be tough.

“We know what we’re facing, a team that’ll be trying to go a step further than they did last season and with threats in the team, especially in the front positions.

Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United: Lexy Ilsley / SportimagePaul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United: Lexy Ilsley / Sportimage
Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United: Lexy Ilsley / Sportimage

“We’ve done the work on them. But as ever, it’ll be about us and how we approach it.”

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Heckingbottom reveals Rovers’ reverse at Reading is typical of both the Championship and the early-season period before the league starts to settle down.

“I watched Rotherham run over the top of Reading and by all accounts they did the same to Blackburn, so that shows that that’s the minimum,” the United boss added.

“But it shows anyone can beat anyone in this league and that’s what makes it interesting and challenging to work in.

“The approach has to be a positive and confident one because the margins are so fine and you can get results if little things go your way.”

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Meanwhile, Billy Sharp, the United skipper, faces a longer spell on the sidelines than was initially feared after suffering damage to ankle ligaments at Middlesbrough recently.

“He’s had the scan and there’s damage to ligaments, more than one and inside and out,” Heckingbottom said. “So it’s just finding out the best way to proceed.”

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