Sheffield United host AFC Bournemouth at Bramall Lane tomorrow in a match that could see them finally break free of the relegation zone following Everton’s points deduction.
After a disappointing start to the season, the Blades have been emboldened by a draw against Brighton and a win over Wolves in their past two fixtures.
With these four points and Everton’s 10-point deduction last week for breaching financial fair play rules, Sheffield United have climbed into 18th place in the table.
At yesterday’s press conference, manager Paul Heckingbottom said: “In terms of where we are, we want to keep momentum going.
“The message hasn’t changed. We’re going to have difficult moments but we have to ride them out and capitalise when we’ve got good momentum.”
Heckingbottom confirmed both Oliver McBurnie and Anel Ahmedhodzic have recovered from recent injuries and will be in contention for starting positions on Saturday, news that will bolster many fans’ expectations of success.
However, Bournemouth is riding its own resurgent wave after a shock 2-0 victory over Newcastle before the international break, paving the way for an exciting basement battle between the sides.
Sheffield’s propulsion out of the danger zone also relies on Crystal Palace beating or drawing to Luton at Kenilworth Road.
On the topic of Everton’s points deduction being to his advantage, Heckingbottom refused to be distracted, and said: “It’s not going to help us get the points we need.”
But he did fire a warning shot towards the Premier League over its investigations into other clubs, such as Manchester City and Chelsea: “You can’t punish one team and not others. There has to be consistency.”
The match will be played on the two year anniversary of Heckingbottom taking over as club manager, an appointment which saw the Blades dominate the Championship and regain their place in the Premier League.
It also follows an international break which saw several impressive performances for members of the squad, including midfielder James McAttee netting a superb brace for England in the U21 Euro Qualifiers against Serbia to help them claim a 3-0 victory.
Supporters have been invited to join a minute’s applause in the 37th minute of the game in memory of Blades fan Matt Hardy, who died aged 37 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Sheffield United v. AFC Bournemouth kicks off at 3pm tomorrow at Bramall Lane.