With four points from their past two games, Sheffield United have given their relegation battle new life, and they are eager to entice other clubs into the fray. Upon Sunday’s draw against Brighton, the Blades made the significant psychological leap of removing themselves from the bottom spot.
A week after defeating the Wolves at Bramall Lane, they overcame Burnley and moved within one point of Luton Town, who are currently in third place, ahead of two crucial games that might significantly impact their season. Fourth-place Bournemouth will take the field first following the international break, followed by a trip to Burnley one week later.
With Fulham, in 16th, already opening up a six-point buffer between themselves and the relegation zone, it is shaping up to be a four-way relegation scrap between the bottom four sides, with United aiming to come out as champions of their own mini-league and seal their Premier League status for another season. But Heckingbottom is refusing to rule out dragging more teams into the dogfight for survival.
“That’s our intention to do that. Imagine if we get a couple more wins, and what teams will then be thinking?” he said. “We want it as tough as possible and I would think the other teams at the bottom would want that. We don’t just want four teams at the bottom.
“You want to get as many wins as possible and as early as possible for two reasons. You want to be out of trouble, of course, but you want as many people as possible in a dogfight with you. Let them feel the pressure as well.”