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Sheffield United: Boss on Middlesbrough and Chris Wilder’s emotional return to Bramall Lane UK News

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Wilder’s presence in opposition – he led United twice to promotion and then to a ninth-place finish in the Premier League before leaving the hometown club a year ago – brings an added layer of intrigue to an already crucial match in the battle for Qualification for the Championship play-offs.

With just 12 regular season matches remaining, United are seventh – one place and one point behind visitors Teesside.

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Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom admits his side’s game against Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough is huge: Darren Staples/Sportimage

“These are all huge games from now on,” Heckingbottom told The Star. “Every one of them and they’ll only get bigger as we move forward.

“That’s how it is. There’s nothing to be gained by trying to pretend otherwise. We know what’s at stake here.

“One game at a time, that’s how we approach it,” continued Heckingbottom, who originally joined United as Under-23 manager at Wilder’s request. “All we look at is what’s directly in front of us. We don’t look beyond the next game. You need to stay focused on the job at hand, not get distracted by anything else.

Middlesbrough Manager Chris Wilder looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough: Will Matthews/PA Wire.

Wilder left South Yorkshire following deterioration in his relationship with the United board, before his permanent successor Slavisa Jokanovic left under similar circumstances.

Heckingbottom, who replaced the Serbian in November, said: “The crowd was wonderful with us all the way. Away from home they were brilliant and made such a difference. At home we really saw the atmosphere they can create and how it helps the guys too. We want all that support again.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-07 05:00:00

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