Why Sheffield United's Paul Heckingbottom favours 'win some, lose some' approach to Premier League survival

Paul Heckingbottom says sporadic wins, more than unbeaten runs, can keep Sheffield United in the Premier League – and that Bramall Lane supporters can play a big part in that.

The Blades' chances of survival have improved considerably in November, but a home game against Bournemouth on Saturday, followed by a trip to Burnley seven days later, could have a big impact either way.

As two members of what has become a five-team battle for Premier League safety after Everton's 10-point deduction for financial fair play breaches, Bournemouth and Burnley are opponents the Blades should be targeting wins over, even if the Cherries have had their own upturn in form recently.

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And it is a steady flow of wins, rather than periods of grinding out draws like the 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion when his team last played, which Heckingbottom is looking to. The 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in their previous match at Bramall Lane is their only victory so far this season.

"As the league looks at the minute, it's looking like those four (other) teams or so at the bottom and our job's to make it a bigger pool," said Heckingbottom, whose team are a point behind Luton Town in the 17th position which must be both clubs' target. "To do that we have to consistently pick up points and avoid losing runs.

"Three points are key. Draws are fine but I'll take the defeats intermingled with three points every now and again."

Bournemouth got their first Premier League win at home to Burnley in late October and more improbably followed it up with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United before the international break. It is why they cannot be taken lightly.

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"Lots of people already giving me the points," said Heckingbottom. "You only have to look at their last game. Newcastle impose themselves and try and dominate but Bournemouth were really good.

ATTITUDE: Sheffield United manager Paul HeckingbottomATTITUDE: Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom
ATTITUDE: Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom

"They're an athletic team, do a lot of work with the press, we have to understand that's a big weapon for them but make sure we can create chances and difficult moments and capitalise on them.

"Regardless of the opposition, we have to put ourselves in the position to take points. Whoever we're playing. We've shown we can do that, we got over the line in the last two and that's the difference."

Although they cannot pick and choose, the Blades' best chances of victory come at home, and Heckingbottom has been keen to stress the part those in the stands can play.

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"The fans have been brilliant this season," he said. "We've had difficult moments but I can't stress enough how important they are. They've been fantastic away, don't get me wrong, and have been signing when we've been getting beaten, even at Brighton where they helped us to get the point and were willing the ball into the back of the net.

"But the home support, Bramall Lane, when we get that right we can make it really difficult for people. I mean how we try and approach the game on the pitch and then how the fans behave.

"We're going to have difficult moments and we need the fans to help us get through those moments but how positive we are in our moments, when we're on top, is what reignites the crowd.

"The Wolves game is the perfect example of that and we need that in our remaining games, no matter what the score is at that moment in time, no matter what the opposition is, evening game, afternoon game, we need to get that bit right."