Sheffield United: Paul Heckingbottom makes an announcement about young players ahead of QPR clash
Despite being hired partly because of his reputation for developing young players, Paul Heckingbottom has vowed not to sacrifice short-term results for long term gains as he attempts to lead Sheffield United back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Femi Seriki, Iliman Ndiaye and Daniel Jebbison, now on loan at Burton Albion, were among those to make their senior debuts under Heckingbottom during the 44-year-old’s spell in caretaker charge last season.
After initially handing Slavisa Jokanovic of restoring United’s top-flight status following their relegation in April, United’s board of directors replaced the Serb with Heckingbottom after only 22 matches in charge.
Despite being told exploiting the talent within the academy forms part of the ownership’s new “strategic vision”, Heckingbottom is first and foremost focusing on trying to win promotion from the Championship.
After winning three matches in a row, including their final one under Jokanovic’s stewardship, United are preparing for next week’s home game against Queens Park Rangers 10th in the table.
“I don’t want anyone to be distracted,” he said. “We want a competitive team.
“We could pick a really young team now. It probably wouldn’t win, but we could do it.
“The senior established players, they set the standard. The ones coming through, they have to follow those and show they can live up to them.”
Rangers are fifth, six points ahead of United who are five outside of the play-off positions.
“We know what we want to do,” Heckingbottom said. “And, to achieve it, results are needed obviously.”