Sheffield United's Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane find time is a healer ahead of decisive Championship game

Paul Heckingbottom thinks a longer-than-usual turanroud between matches could help Sheffield United in their most important match of the season so far, and could be the difference between Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane playing or not.

The Blades host Fulham on Saturday knowing a win against the champions will put them in the Championship play-offs. Any other result will put their fate in the hands of Luton Town, Middlesbrough and possibly Millwall.

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But having played their penultimate game against Queens Park Rangers on a Friday night has allowed the pair extra recovery time which manager Heckingbottom thinks could be all important.

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RECOVERY: Sheffield United playmaker Morgan Gibbs-WhiteRECOVERY: Sheffield United playmaker Morgan Gibbs-White
RECOVERY: Sheffield United playmaker Morgan Gibbs-White

George Baldock is also back in training and Billy Sharp has had a sugar injection to speed up the recovery of his calf, though he will not face the Cottagers.

"It's just lads with a couple of knocks, Conor and Morgan," said Heckingbottom. "We'll get them back on the grass tomorrow (Friday). George has trained today fully so we've got him back.

"I think (the extra time) has (helped). With Conor and Morgan training tomorrow it's done them the world of good. If it had been a quick turnaround they would probably have been in doubt.

"That's helped the preparation for a big game, and it's getting everyone reset and ready to go. We've had a full week's preparation. We would have liked to have had everyone on the grass to be going through everything but it's seemed to settle down after how hectic it's been from Christmas onwards."

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Asked if Sharp could play a part in the play-offs were his team to make it, Heckingbottom replied: "It's still too early. We're doing all we can.

"He went for some sugar injections last week, a couple of days steady after that, and we'll see how he reacts.

"We know he's going to do all he can and we'll do all we can in case we can extend the season. It's better that than sitting about thinking about next season."

Heckingbottom also revealed that Jack Robinson is one of the players who has triggered an automatic contract extension, but he is keen for more clarity on a number of others whose deals are up in the summer.

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"Progress has been made," he said. "We've seen some players have their contract extension options taken up. Some have hit that marker and they're renewing, so we know they're going to be here but there's still more to come.

"We're not in a position to know exactly what the squad's going to look like next season and the positions we need to full. To do that, you need to know exactly what you've got in the budget to pay wages and transfer fees, if any. How many loans are we going to nee?

"We've either got to fill the gaps with the boys in the building or with players from elsewhere.

"Robbo's hit his marker to be here next season but there's more than that.

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"One of my reasons for wanting to speak to the board is there needs to be more thought than in terms of the club going forward.

"We've got gaps in the squad in terms of succession-planning,w hen contracts are up and what's beneath, where we need to make good decisions now or in 12 months' time there's going to be big holes."

All Saturday's Championship games kick off at 12.30pm. Luton host Reading, Middlesbrough are at Preston North End and Millwall are at already-promoted Bournemouth.