The complex process Sheffield United hope will ensure they will return with a bang

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Sheffield United’s coaching staff are using a complex set of data measurements to help them design a mini ‘pre-season’ programme aimed at ensuring Chris Wilder’s squad maintain their challenge for a place in Europe next season, when Premier League football eventually resumes following the coronavirus pandemic.

Wilder’s players have spent nearly a month training at home, after the club were forced to close the doors of the Steelphalt Academy because of the global health crisis.

With every member of the United manager’s team being handed both individual and collective fitness programmes before being told to vacate the site, a taskforce has been set-up to monitor the information relating to weight, heart rates and body fat levels they have been instructed to log into a club issue app, which is then studied by members of the conditioning department.

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Once those figures are collated - and United discover when the campaign is scheduled to restart - they will be used to shape how Wilder, his assistant Alan Knill and coach Matt Prestridge prepare those under their command for the remaining 10 games of the PL season.

United, who were seventh in the table when sport across the country was placed into lockdown, had also reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup only a year after securing promotion from the Championship.

“I’m confident, because the boys have been working really hard, that we’ll be able to hit the ground running again when we do get back,” Wilder has predicted. “They’re putting it all in and doing what they have to do.”

Despite frequently paying tribute to the professionalism of United’s players, Wilder has introduced a series of fines for those who miss any of the daily training sessions without good excuse.

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Qualifying for the Champions League proper would be worth a minimum of £15.2m to United, with even draws in the group stages of the competition being rewarded with £900,000 worth of prize money.

Leon Clarke and Jack O’Connell at Sheffield United's training complex before the Premier League ground to a halt because of coronavirus: Simon Bellis/SportimageLeon Clarke and Jack O’Connell at Sheffield United's training complex before the Premier League ground to a halt because of coronavirus: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Leon Clarke and Jack O’Connell at Sheffield United's training complex before the Premier League ground to a halt because of coronavirus: Simon Bellis/Sportimage | JPIMedia

Entrance to the Europa League, which United can also reach via the cup, receives an initial £2.9m.

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John Lundstram, the Sheffield United midfielder, is now being put through his paces at home: Simon Bellis/SportimageJohn Lundstram, the Sheffield United midfielder, is now being put through his paces at home: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
John Lundstram, the Sheffield United midfielder, is now being put through his paces at home: Simon Bellis/Sportimage | JPIMedia

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