After being appointed as manager following Slavisa Jokanovic’s sacking a fortnight ago, Heckingbottom is expected to continue the reprofiling exercise instigated by his predecessor when the transfer window reopens in the New Year.
With 44-year-old’s assistant Stuart McCall recently telling The Star that United’s squad remains imbalanced following a tumultuous eight month period which has also seen two-time promotion winner Chris Wilder depart following the collapse of his relationship with the board of directors before last season’s relegation from the Premier League, Heckingbottom could allow a number of big names to leave South Yorkshire before their contracts expire this summer.
Speaking as United’s focus turns towards Monday’s game against Queens Park Rangers, Heckingbottom told The Star: “There is a feeling that you’ve got to enjoy coming in. That’s players, that’s staff and that’s everyone connected with the football club.
“If you want to be in our group, then you have to add to it. Not take away from it. If you’re taking away from it then there’s probably not going to be room for you here. That’s not what we want. We don’t want it because it’s not helpful or desirable for success.”
Heckingbottom cited goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, who has excelled between the posts since replacing the injured Robin Olsen, as setting the ideal example of others to follow after Saturday’s win over Cardiff City. Previously of Rangers, Foderingham has spent much of his career in South Yorkshire on the bench but has left Heckingbottom potentially facing a big decision when Olsen, on loan from AS Roma, recovers from the rib injury he sustained on international duty with Sweden.
“Anyone feeling sorry for themselves, they aren’t driving the situation,” said Heckingbottom, after watching United climb to 10th in the table. “They’re not reacting to it either. The right attitude is so important, and that’s got to come from everyone here not matter what they do or what situation they are in right now.”