Paul Heckingbottom has played down the significance of Sheffield United’s meeting with play-off rivals Nottingham Forest on Friday evening (Match betting – United 10/11, Draw 12/5, Forest 7/2).
Sheffield United (5/2 – to be promoted) and Forest (7/1) have both benefitted from a change in the dugout this campaign and they are serious contenders for a top-six finish.
The Blades sat 16th when Heckingbottom took charge in November and they are just one point and one place adrift of the play-offs ahead of Friday’s 19:45 clash.
Forest were rock-bottom prior to Steve Cooper’s appointment and they could also move into the top six with a win.
Heckingbottom has stressed the importance of bouncing back from a loss to Millwall last time out, just their second defeat since he replaced Slavisa Jokanovic, but insists the result won’t define their season.
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“I’m not looking at what a win might mean for us. I’m not looking beyond the next 90 minutes of football,” Heckingbottom said.
“Nothing is going to get decided here. That’s not the way the division is. We’ll be going all out for the win, of course, the same as they will be.
“But when we first came in, there was an element of ‘it’s now or never’ about the place. And that’s something we’ve been trying to get away from.
“The approach we’ve had, all the way through, is just taking things one game at a time. Focus on what is directly in front of us, and nothing else.”
Third-placed Huddersfield Town are also back in action as they look to extend their 15-game unbeaten streak in the league when they host bottom-of-the-table Peterborough United, also at 19:45 (Match betting – Huddersfield 4/6, Draw 11/4, Peterborough 5/1).
The Terriers (9/1 – to be promoted) have won three in a row, including a victory over leaders Fulham, but boss Carlos Corberan isn’t underestimating Posh after they held Manchester City for 60 minutes in the FA Cup on Tuesday.
Corberan said: “We know that against Peterborough we need to have a strong mentality because it’s going to be a very competitive game.
“In the FA Cup against Manchester City, City couldn’t score until the 60th minute. That shows how Peterborough were competing – every team in the Championship is a competitive team.”
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