26 November 2021

Paul Heckingbottom begins second tenure as Blades boss without John Fleck

26 November 2021

Paul Heckingbottom will begin his second spell in charge of Sheffield United this year when they host Bristol City on Sunday.

The 44-year-old’s first stint was as an 11-match caretaker fighting the tide of inevitable relegation from the Premier League last season, but this time he is the manager on a five-and-a-half-year contract after Slavisa Jokanovic was sacked on Thursday.

Jokanovic switched to three at the back in his last few games, and Blades fans can expect more of the same under Heckingbottom. It remains to be seen what, if any, changes Heckingbottom might make to the team, particularly as Jokanovic won his final game in charge against Reading on Tuesday night.

However, one player who will not be available is John Fleck after the midfielder collapsed on the pitch during that 1-0 victory.

City will be without Joe Williams after the midfielder suffered another hamstring injury this week.

The 24-year-old, having only recently returned from a month-long absence with a hamstring problem, was forced out of the win against Stoke on the hour mark.

Robins boss Nigel Pearson has said it is a new issue and not a recurrence of his previous injury and the club are awaiting the results of scans to determine how long he will be on the sidelines for this time.

Matty James (foot) is nearing a return while fellow midfielder Andy King and full-back George Tanner are still recovering from their hamstring problems.

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