Sheffield United's clever coaching trick proves a boost ahead of Burnley test

Sheffield United’s frantic end to the season, which sees them play eight times in less than a month, holds no fears for Paul Heckingbottom and his staff after they took a conscious decision to condense their pre-match preparation programmes into 48 hour blocks at the beginning of the campaign.
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Second in the table with only seven outings remaining on their Championship schedule, United travel to runaway leaders Burnley tonight after beating Wigan Athletic on Friday. With third placed Luton Town 11 points behind his squad, the assignment at Turf Moor is of critical importance in the race for automatic promotion.

Despite the fast turnaround, Heckingbottom said: “Getting messages across in two days, that’s something I’m really big on. It’s something we’ve always tried to do, because it’s a way of working that suits being in this division, when you get used to going Saturday to Tuesday or Wednesday and then into a Saturday again. That aspect of things, making sure the lads know what is required, doesn’t bother us because it’s something we’ve tried to do all the way through.”

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Describing the long build-up to this weekend’s clash with Cardiff City as “a bit of a luxury”, Heckingbottom will nevertheless be concerned that the way United’s fixture calendar has been reorganised following their march into the FA Cup semi-finals means even minor knocks could force players to miss important outings.

“We like to do a lot in the auditorium, on the video screen etc,” he said. “And we try to get the important details the lads need across as quickly as possible, because that’s most effective.”