Sheffield United: Paul Heckingbottom on how the new managerial structure will work and another imminent arrival

Paul Heckingbottom has explained how Sheffield United new managerial structure will work, after reiterating his desire to hire another coach.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 3:32 pm

Speaking as he prepares to take charge of United for the second time since being unveiled as Slavisa Jokanovic’s successor last week, Heckingbottom revealed he wants the successful candidate to add to the skill set of the existing set-up, which includes assistant Stuart McCall and head of player development Jack Lester.

Acknowledging the presence of McCall and Lester at the training ground means he can focus on making the right appointment, Heckingbottom admitted communication will be key to making his relationship with Bramall Lane’s board of directors work after chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa told journalists neither he nor owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud plan to be the “public face” of the club.

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CEO Stephen Bettis, Paul Heckingbottom, chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa and director Abdullah bin Yousef Alghamdi at a press conference to announce the new structure: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“We are going to set up and schedule meetings,” Heckingbottom, who previously oversaw United’s development squad, said. “Some I won’t be involved in because there'll be no need, they’ll be commercial for example. But the technical ones, the ones on the football side or which impact the football side, I will be and then we’ll feed what comes out up the food chain.”

With Lester also vacating a position with United’s academy as part of the reshuffle which followed Jokanovic’s sacking, Heckingbottom said: “There will be a slight restructuring with people stepping into different roles, because we’ve already got brilliant people working there and we want them to have more responsibility. That will create vacancies, which will then be advertised.”

After winning his first match at the helm - goals from Rhian Brewster and Billy Sharp putting Bristol City to the sword on Sunday - Heckingbottom hopes Saturday’s visit to Cardiff City sees United continue their climb up the Championship table. After beating Reading in Jokanovic’s final appearance in their technical area, United have prepared for their trip to south Wales 13th in the table.

“We’re not close, to bringing another coach in,” Heckingbottom said. “The main thing was having Jack and Macca in from day one. Whoever we add to this group of staff, we can now relax and make sure they are the right fit.

Stuart McCall, Paul Heckinbottom and Jack Lester at Sheffield United;s training complex: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“I want to make sure we’re not all the same,” Heckingbottom added. “I want them to be better than me at certain things. Plugging all the gaps, making sure that whatever is thrown at us, we can make the most and cover it - that’s the aim.”

United are set to give late fitness tests to Brewster (hamstring) and Oliver Norwood (calf) ahead of the meeting with Steve Morison’s side, who despite being 20th in the table have won three of their last four outings.

John Fleck has received the all clear from United’s medical staff to resume work after suffering a seizure on the pitch at the Select Car Leasing Stadium but is now likely to be given the weekend off as a precaution. However, barring any unforeseen complications, the midfielder could make his return to action when Queens Park Rangers make the journey north on December 13th.