Paul Heckingbottom delivers classy Nigel Pearson and Bristol City verdict ahead of Sheff Utd clash

The Blades boss was highly praiseful of Nigel Pearson’s work at Bristol City
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Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has praised the job that manager Nigel Pearson has done since taking over at Bristol City. Pearson was appointed in February 2021 and has been in charge for a year and 246 days.

The Blades are to travel down to Ashton Gate this evening with the two sides in differing positions in the Championship table but the same goal. Sheff United are in fourth and a victory tonight could move them up to third, as well as closing the gap on the automatic promotion race.

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Both teams want to be involved in the promotion picture come the end of the campaign, but have differing levels of resources to fund their ambitions. Sheffield United exchanged a fee for Anel Ahmedhodzic and signed Ciaran Clark on-loan from Newcastle United, whilst they are also backed by their parachute payments.

City on the other hand did not buy a player in the summer and instead relied on free transfers from the lower leagues to beef up their squad. Richard Gould CEO admitted last week at a Fans Forum that Pearson had the tough job of remaining competitive whilst reducing the wage bill.

Those outside of the club are starting to take notice of the job the 59-year-old is doing as he hopes to get the club to the Premier League, or at least set the foundations for the next manager to come in. City's squad has varying levels of experience and quality, and two former Leicester City midfielders were earmarked as the two helping the younger players through things.

"I don’t know what Nigel’s remit is in the club but If I was looking at it from the outside,” he said. “You say about time, it looks like there’s been a change in the approach, they are recruiting from lower down and spending less.

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"They are putting emphasis on youth and a lot more has come from the academy and the lower leagues. Nige is trying to get them in the team with some good experience; King (Andy), James (Matty) and those types of lads. They’ve got some good players and have been good at this level and higher.

"Trying to recruit as most are to make money on the players, lower the wage bill and if that is the approach. The expectation has to be in line with that.

"Nige has been there, seen it and done it at this level and higher and knows in every way to create that type of squad. It looks like a real good fit from the outside. It looks like he’s doing a really good job on that."

As for his assessment of the team tonight, he spoke of how the club made an early run at the start of the season. City suffered back-to-back defeats against Hull City and Sunderland, but bounced back by going on an eight-match unbeaten run, which had them in the play-off picture.

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Since losing to both Norwich City and Burnley, they have struggled to put together a consistent run of form and have struggled to claim back-to-back wins. The Blades boss has studied City well and is aware of the dilemma Pearson has with illness reeking havoc through the team.

"They started well and they are playing some good football and are pleasing on the eye to watch," Heckingbottom stated. "There could be change, sometimes they play with three in midfield and sometimes they play with a two and a ten. They are certainly a threat on the counter and have got willing runners in behind. It seems to be Nahki Wells or Antoine Semenyo.

"We know they’ve got good threats and I know Nigel had to change the team a lot with illness and such. Whether the players back in, I am not too sure.

"I would still expect the three centre-backs and the willing runners in the two or three in midfield. I don’t think too much of a change to the style but we’ll have to wait and see what personnel he puts out."

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