Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom on MGW, Rhian Brewster and Sander Berge

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Paul Heckingbottom insists that his Blades side are more than a 'one-trick pony' in the absence of stellar loanee Morgan Gibbs-White.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

The midfielder is back receiving treatment at parent club Wolves after suffering a minor knee injury just before Christmas, but he is expected to rejoin the Blades in the near future.

Speaking recently, Wolves manager Bruno Lage said he is 'very happy' with Gibbs-White's progress at Bramall Lane and has hinted that the player will only be recalled from his loan if his side suffer an injury crisis.

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Gibbs-White joined the Blades on loan at the beginning of the season and has made 16 appearances in the Championship, scoring five goals and providing four assists and proving a real hit with supporters.

United - in their first league game since December 20 - struggled in his absence in Saturday's 2-0 loss at Derby.

Heckingbottom is naturally keen for Gibbs-White and other players currently sidelined to return to the fray sooner rather than later, more especially given the Blades' busy schedule, but he is adamant that the loanee is just one part of the club's attacking armoury this season and not most of it.

Heckingbottom, whose side visit Preston on Tuesday night, said: "That’s what Morgan has brought this season, that spark and creativity. We’re more than just one player and that’s the frustrating thing. It was just our levels of performance (at Derby).

"We want to get everyone up to speed as quickly as possible as we are going to need everyone, that's the thing and want everyone back from injury - the ones who have been out with Covid-related iillnesses or the injuries.

"In all honesty, looking at the run-in after the Peterborough game, we have some really big games and quick turnarounds from Wednesday night to Saturday and we are going to need the squad."

Meanwhile, Heckingbottom has admitted that the break in the club's schedule in the first half of the winter due to Covid issues at rival clubs and a minor injury setback has proved untimely for forward Rhian Brewster, who made his return to the side from the bench in Saturday's defeat at Derby.

It has also prevented fit-again midfielder Sander Berge from getting fully up to speed quicker following his return to the fray, but the Blades chief is confident that both will be able to contribute fully in the weeks ahead and make up for lost time.

Heckingbottom commented: "What’s frustrating for Rhian and us is that he’d just scored a couple of goals and got injured against Bristol (City).

"He’s been working hard and he got some minutes in the under-23s and he scored again and he’s got three in three, regardless of the games.

"He knows he needs to keep working hard and get fitter and he's determined to get in the team. And hopefully, then everyone gets the benefit and he gets the goals."

On what Berge required in the weeks ahead, the Blades chief delivered a simple message.

"Games, getting minutes on the pitch and working hard. There’s no shortcuts", he commented.

"He (Berge) has been working hard after such a long lay-off, so he’s missed a lot of time and training sessions.

"That’s all we can give him, the time and effort from our point of view and keep pushing him. He is a determined boy, so he’ll keep working hard and keep improving every day."