Sheffield United boss reveals discussions with Prince Abdullah – plus a fitness boost ahead of West Ham game

After Sunday’s humbling 8-0 loss to Newcastle United, the club’s worst league defeat in history, manager Paul Heckingbottom of SHEFFIELD UNITED said that he spoke with Blades owner Prince Abdullah and CEO Stephen Bettis.

The Blades imploded in the second half of the Premier League encounter in particular at a stunned Bramall Lane with Heckingbottom and his players and staff facing a huge test of their character at West Ham on Saturday.

Heckingbottom, who said that the messages from the club’s hierarchy were ones of support despite an awful result, said: “Prince Abdullah was on the phone to me straight after the game, we speak regularly, that is not an issue.

“The support is there, I spoke to Stephen as well.

Sheffield United's manager Paul Heckingbottom reacts to their defeat on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Newcastle United at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on September 24, 2023. Newcastle won the game 8-0. (Photo by Darren Staples / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)

“We understand we need to be better, we are all in agreement on that. We need to be a team that suffered these results and goes on to achieve their goal, which in our case is to stay in the division.

“I believe that sufficient reflection was still required. Some items from there have served as strong triggers.

We are aware of how narrow the margins are and how well we must perform to prevail.

“It was a difficult day, the end of a difficult week for everyone,”

Midfielder John Fleck, promoted on two occasions with the Blades, is back in training following his eve-of-season injury, Heckingbottom confirmed.

The Scot suffered a leg fracture in the eve-of-season friendly with Girona, which required an operation.

Gus Hamer, who was substituted to protect a slight thigh niggle on Sunday, is available for the trip to the capital, while Oli McBurnie is back from suspension.

Heckingbottom added: “Oli is back from his suspension and Gus is that little bit better. He was carrying something last week.

“John trained today and it’s good for Flecky, having obviously had that broken leg in pre-season. That’s another one back. There’s no-one else to add to the injuries.”

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