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Sheffield United: Boss makes big statement on tonight’s game against Nottingham Forest UK News

Speaking ahead of the game, which pits seventh against ninth in the Championship table, Heckingbottom hailed the impact his counterpart Steve Cooper has had since taking charge of the visitors in September – turning them from a relegation-threatened side into six top contenders.

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But the 44-year-old, who oversaw a similar transformation at Bramall Lane after being appointed four months ago, warned it would be a mistake to view the game as a pivotal moment in every team’s season.

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“It just doesn’t feel more important to me than any other Game Eight right now,” Heckingbottom said. “I don’t look at anything other than the fact that at the moment we are preparing to face a very good team.

“I don’t look at what a win could mean for us. I don’t look beyond the next 90 minutes of football.

“Nothing is going to be decided here. That’s not the way the division is. We’re going to go all out for the win, of course, like them.

“But when we arrived there was an element of ‘it’s now or never’ about the place. And that’s something we tried to get away from. The approach we had, throughout, is to take things one game at a time. Focus on what’s directly in front of us, and nothing else.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom says Nottingham Forest are a ‘dangerous’ team under Steve Cooper: Paul Terry/Sportimage

Reflecting on Cooper’s job in the Midlands – Forest were downstairs after Chris Hughton left – Heckingbottom continued: “Sometimes it’s not the manager or the players. It’s everyone together – players, managers , staff and fans – who come together to create the right environment.

“And that, the environment, is the key.

“Steve did a really good job and made them a really dangerous team. They’ll come here thinking the same as us, knowing they’ll be up against really good opposition and it’s going to be really tough.

Sjeffield United hope to celebrate a win after meeting Nottingham Forest: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United beat fourth-placed Blackburn Rovers before heading to south London, despite Charlie Goode being sent off midway through the second half. The defender is suspended for the clash with Forest, putting further pressure on United’s injury-plagued squad. But Morgan Gibbs-White, who scored against Cooper’s men earlier this season, is expected to return to the starting XI along with Norway international Sander Berge.

“I see it as similar to Blackburn for us,” Heckingbottom said. “Another home game for us against a fit and dangerous side. We want to win. We respect and understand their threat though. I think it will be another great show, but every game is important at this stage.

Like Paul Heckingbottom, Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cooper has worked wonders: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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This notice was published: 2022-03-04 05:00:00

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