United stage the first leg of the semi-final at Bramall Lane on Saturday, with Heckingbottom hoping to harness the power of the biggest crowd in the Championship this season to help take an advantage into next week’s return at the City Ground.
The best example
Reflecting on how Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti commissioned the Spaniard’s multi-media experts to create a motivational film for his squad before their recent Champions League victory over Manchester City, Heckingbottom told The Star: “Pictures can often illustrate something a lot more clearly and powerfully than words. So if it’s relevant to what we are saying or trying to do, then we definitely do it. We’ve done things like this quite a lot in the past and it’s something we’ll readily do again in the future.”
United enter the first instalment of what promises to be a tense double-header on the back of three straight victories; the last of those coming when title-winners Fulham were beaten 4-0 last Saturday.
Forest were held to a draw by Hull City during the final round of games but went close to snatching automatic promotion and have won 11 of their last 16 outings.
The Spanish test
With United boasting the highest attendances in this term’s competition, Heckingbottom said: “Going back to that (Real Madrid) game, look at how their fans also helped change the course of that game.
“The atmosphere inside the ground really made a difference to what they were doing. That’s something we’re going to need, the supporters right behind us, and I know they will be.”
United are again expected to partner Morgan Gibbs-White and Iliman Ndiaye in attack, with Billy Sharp, Oli McBurnie and former Nottingham Forest marksman David McGoldrick all ruled out through injury. Rhian Brewster, United’s record signing, will also miss the contest as he recovers from hamstring surgery.
Forest’s leading scorer Lewis Grabban is receiving treatment for a fitness issue although Steve Cooper is hopeful experienced defender Steve Cook will be available for selection.