Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has warned against his side approaching Wednesday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with West Brom as a promotion party.
The Blades will seal a return to the Premier League with three games to spare if they can beat the Baggies at Bramall Lane, ending two years in the second tier.
But Heckingbottom does not want anyone thinking it is a done deal, with West Brom still fighting to reach the top six.
“I’m guessing the majority of this press conference will be ‘if you beat West Brom’, first and foremost I don’t want that to be the narrative,” he said.
“If you want to motivate a team who are going for the play-offs as much as possible then talk about what happens if we beat them. We are going to have to be at our very, very best against a team who needs the win themselves. It is not about us beating West Brom and getting promoted.
“We won’t be complacent, there’s a big determination and desire within our group of players to try and get it done in our next two home games. We want to do that. I feel it’d be fitting if we managed to do that.
“We have got a safety net of four games but we don’t want to take that, we want to get it done as soon as possible. I’d love to get it done in front of our own fans where everyone is together if and when it happens.
“We are determined to get the job done in these two games, that’s our aim, that’s what we want to achieve.
“We have got ourselves in a position where we know what we have to do.”
If the beaten FA Cup semi-finalists do get over the line, Heckingbottom has urged the club’s fans not to go onto the pitch and see a possible repeat of ugly scenes last year.
A Nottingham Forest fan was sent to jail for assaulting Billy Sharp after the play-off semi-final at the City Ground last season while Oli McBurnie was embroiled in a court case and ultimately cleared of stamping on another Forest fan who approached him after the Blades’ penalty shoot-out loss.
Heckingbottom was at pains to stress that if Wednesday night is the time to celebrate, his side will want to do it properly.
“We know it’s a criminal offence to go on the pitch,” he said. “If we could keep everyone in the stand, if it is that time to celebrate, we would go and spend as much time as possible with every one of the fans. That’s what we can promise.
“With the amount of incidents that have been happening, I would be devastated if anything happened at Bramall Lane after what we have gone through as a group and obviously Bill at the City Ground and the fallout from that which has been ongoing all this season.
“I’d hate if we were involved in any more stories like that, especially at Bramall Lane. That is my ask.”