The steps Sheffield United are considering to try and salvage some Premier League pride
Nothing has been declared off limits as Sheffield United seek to address their miserable form, caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom has insisted, with a change of formation and strategy being considered ahead of Saturday’s visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Despite inheriting a squad low on both morale and points following Chris Wilder’s departure last month, Heckingbottom has continued to follow essentially the same game plan as his predecessor during his first four weeks in charge.
With injuries also proving an issue - captain Billy Sharp yesterday joining the ranks of Bramall Lane’s walking wounded after undergoing surgery - Heckingbottom has previously insisted that adopting a radically different strategy could create more problems than it would solve.
However, with last weekend’s defeat by Arsenal edging United even closer towards the trap door which leads to the Championship, a tipping point could now have been reached.
“Listen, we are going to look at everything,” Heckingbottom said. “The personnel, the formation, everything. There isn’t anything we aren’t looking at.
“If we think the game calls for it, then we will do it.”
Although that caveat would suggest Heckingbottom remains reluctant to tear-up the tactical template Wilder devised, he did order a change of formation during the second-half of the meeting with Mikel Arteta’s side. That saw Ben Osborn, initially deployed at wing-back, nudged forward into midfield. To begin with, it had the desired effect only for a mistake by John Lundstram to gift Arsenal their second goal of the contest before eventually winning 3-0.
“We wanted to be more aggressive with the press, and to get more bodies up the pitch,” Heckingbottom said. “If I’m being critical, and I don’t want to be although we’re honest in the dressing room, we weren’t positive enough in terms of trying to create chances.
"That’s something we want to do more of, create them, and when we do we’ve got to be forceful. We get why things are so tough but you can do one or two things in football. You can either just accept the situation, which we won’t be doing, or you can try to do something about it.”