Sheffield United's senior players are set to work with the under-23's
Sheffield United’s caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom is expected to order a number of the club’s senior professionals to take part in today’s development league fixture against Queens Park Rangers, as he attempts to impose his philosophy on Bramall Lane’s first team squad.
After serving as United’s under-23’s coach before being placed in caretaker charge following Chris Wilder’s departure earlier this month, Heckingbottom has made furthering the education of their young players as one of his top priorities over the next two months.
A number of Steelphalt Academy graduates travelled to yesterday’s FA Cup tie against Chelsea, as an own goal from Oliver Norwood and Hakim Ziyech’s late strike saw United exit the competition at the quarter-final stage for the second year in a row.
With relegation beckoning - they enter the international break 14 points from safety with only nine matches of the campaign remaining - Heckingbottom said: “We’ll give most of the players who aren’t going away with their countries a few days off. Some of the others, they’ll be in the next few under-23’s games, because we’ve got to try and look to build on what I think has been some good progress over the past week or so.
“I’ve been really pleased with the progression of the players, and we have to keep trying to drive that forward."
"There’ll be a few involved, I’ve already spoken with them,” Heckingbottom continued. “It should help, not only in terms of minutes but in terms of what we are trying to instil in them as well. So that’s what we plan to do this week.”
After facing Rangers at Bramall Lane, United’s under-23’s then travel to Middlewood Road for a derby against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.
Although Heckingbottom has temporarily relinquished his duties with United’s youngsters, he plans to attend both matches.
“We’ve drafted in help,” Heckingbottom said. “There’s enough to do, I can’t do both and we and we want to make sure everyone gets the best attention.
"We need to put things in place to make sure they get the care that they need and that they deserve.”