Sheffield United promotion winner describes Bramall Lane as "a very special place"

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Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottomn has described Bramall Lane as a “special place” following his team’s promotion back to the Premier League.

United enter tomorrow’s game against Preston North End already assured of top-flight status next season after establishing an unassailable lead over the Championship’s third placed club Luton Town with three matches to spare.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s victory over West Bromwich Albion, which saw goals from Sander Berge and Anel Ahmedhodzic guarantee United will finish second in the table, Heckingbottom had spoken of his desire to “get the job” done on home soil so his players could celebrate with their supporters.

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After learning it was the first time in half a century that a United squad had achieved the feat inside their own stadium, Heckingbottom said: “I was adamant that I wanted to do it here. This is a special place. A very special place in fact. I know, because I’ve brought teams here in the past, what it’s like for people to come here and the effect it can have on away teams when it really gets going.

“To hear that it’s been so long since we’ve gone up here, actually during a game, that makes me even more happy. Because it’s a reward for everyone who has contributed and that includes the fans.”

United were languishing in 16th position and still suffering from the hangover of being relegated when Heckingbottom was appointed 17 months ago. After leading them into the play-off semi-finals last term, where they were beaten on penalties by eventual winners Nottingham Forest, he hailed his side’s ability to recover from that set-back and take the shortest possible route back to the highest level this time around.

Sheffield United are Premier League bound: Simon Bellis / SportimageSheffield United are Premier League bound: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Sheffield United are Premier League bound: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“For us to be out there, representing the supporters and the community, I know what it means to them,” said Heckingbottom, who led Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian before joining United; initially as their lead development coach. “That’s another reason why we were so desperate to get the job done in front of them (the fans) because they make us what we are. This club, it belongs to them.”