Although a recent upturn in form, coupled with the financial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, is likely to delay plans for an extensive reprofiling exercise, Heckingbottom is still expected to be active in the market as he attempts to stamp his mark on Bramall Lane’s first team squad.
By placing such a heavy emphasis on developing home grown talent during the strategic revamp which led to the 44-year-old’s appointment, questions will inevitably be asked about the extent of the resources United are set to place at Heckingbottom’s disposal over the coming weeks.
Although both he and senior officials at the club dispute there is any correlation between the two, Heckingbottom’s movements will in part depend upon the future of players such as Robin Olsen, Ben Davies and Morgan Gibbs-White - who all joined United on temporary deals when Slavisa Jokanovic was still in charge earlier this term.
Heckingbottom is understood to be confident that Davies and Gibbs-White, arguably his most influential player, will remain in situ. But Wes Foderingham’s assured displays since replacing the injured Olsen in goal recently prompted journalists to enquire about the details of the relationship between United, the Swede and his employers AS Roma.
Heckingbottom, whose answer was also designed to cover the arrangements United have entered into with other teams to accelerate the development of their own players, said: “It depends, because they are all different.
“Some can just run. Others can be terminated if one party wants to. But some need two of the parties involved to agree to that or even all three. That’s the nature of the business.”
“We have people on loan with us and we have sent people here out on loan for various different reasons,” he added.
Foderingham was set to start United’s game against Preston North End today before the fixture was postponed because of a Covid-19 outbreak at the opponents’ training facility.