Play-off race will 'go down to the wire' says Sheffield United chief Paul Heckingbottom

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Paul Heckingbottom believes that the Championship play-off race will down 'right down to the wire.'

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Paul Heckingbottom believes that the Championship play-off race will down 'right down to the wire.'

Despite being in 12th place ahead of this weekend's programme of fixtures, the Blades are one of host of sides who have a vested interest in the top six, despite currently being out of the play-off positions.

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United visit lowly Peterborough United on Saturday before a trip to another struggler in Birmingham City next Friday.

Paul Heckingbottom.

After that, the Blades - who still have 13 home matches remaining on home soil - have six of their next scheduled fixtures at Bramall Lane, offering the chance to build some momentum.

Heckingbottom, whose side are currently eight points adrift of the side occupying the final play-off position in Huddersfield - but with three games in hand and a visit to the John Smith's Stadium in the offing next month - said: “I think what’s making it even more strange this season is the big discrepancy in the games people have played. Some on 28, some on 25, that’s making it strange.

“If we stay on this run, we’ll be there or thereabouts, but there are that many games left that anything can happen

“We’ve got three games left on some other teams and it could be a late run which gets someone in the play-offs. Yeah, it’s going to go right to the wire.”

“It’s focusing on what you control. We can focus on how hard we work every day and how we apply ourselves to games.

“I didn’t like us at Derby because I didn’t feel that was a performance that represented us and what we want to be.

“If we can look after ourselves, we have a better chance of picking up points. That’s the way to stay motivated and focused.

“Our season has been strange from a poor start and then being strong from the end of November, collecting points. It’s more a case of looking forward.

“We’ll just take these last 20 games and really attack them and try and get as many points as possible.”

United visit a Peterborough side fighting for their lives tomorrow, with Posh in poor form, having won just once in their past 12 league games.

Heckingbottom added: “If you don’t approach any game right in this league, you can come unstuck.

“When you start getting to the end of January, points feel different, they become more precious and teams become dangerous.

“I’ve said it before, Peterborough are dangerous and you have to respect the way they play. They will take risks to create chances and that’s why they give chances away at the other end.

“But you can’t presume you will get chances, you have to earn them, and likewise, stop them creating. It’s going to be a tough game.”