Sheffield United: Coventry City are warned about Bramall Lane work ethic

Sheffield United aim to perfect an area of their game which Paul Heckingbottom believes will enhance their promotion credentials over the Christmas and New Year period.
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With Iliman Ndiaye and Oli McBurnie both entering Boxing Day’s game against Coventry City on nine goals apiece, Billy Sharp’s return to form in front of goal means Heckingbottom now has arguably the Championship’s most devastating collection of strikers at his disposal. But the secret to ensuring United’s attack continues to fire, their manager has told The Star, is allowing the trio to receive the ball in advanced areas of the pitch. Which explains why Heckingbottom and his coaching staff began focusing on improving the squad’s pressing game following Monday’s win over Wigan Athletic.

“We are big without the ball,” he said. “It’s something we work a lot on and will continue to do so as well. In that one (Wigan) we tried to be big on energy and hunting people down rather than setting if you like. That enabled us to win the ball back a lot higher and, with some of the lads we’ve got up there, that’s where we want to be receiving it.”

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Sharp enters the meeting with City having found the target in each of his last two outings, having also netted during Huddersfield Town’s defeat at Bramall Lane earlier this month.

“Getting on top of people, that also forces them to do things they don’t want,” Heckingbottom said, noting how Wigan were forced to ditch the passing game his counterpart Kolo Toure is attempting to introduce at the DW Stadium. “So that puts us in a stronger position too.”