Sheffield United boss issues training ground update after big financial toll

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United confirmed earlier this summer that they would spend a seven-figure sum to upgrade their training surfaces at their Shirecliffe training complex, fielding them at the Desso ground set up at Bramall Lane.

Boss Heckingbottom first expressed concerns about the condition of the surfaces midway through last season, when he described them as “terrible” and “a bog”.

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Speaking towards the end of United’s pre-season training camp in Portugal, Heckingbottom told The Star that diggers had moved into the site and he expected the works to be operational this week .

“It’s a big renovation project,” he added. “Usually at this time of year it’s a re-skimming of the roof, but that’s a building project we want to do as well, so it will take longer.

“But it will be worth it. Absolutely.

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Sheffield United players are addressed by manager Paul Heckingbottom during their pre-season camp in Portugal (Sheffield United)

“We talked about what we can control and what we can improve. Last season we had a lot of injuries and we know why. The pre-season was disrupted. Covid-19 caused a lot of game cancellations, and then there was the training ground.

“When we took control of all those things, from mid-March – when the pitch wasn’t flooded and the schedule calmed down and we had consistent training – we didn’t have only one soft tissue injury after that, which was Billy [Sharp, the United skipper].

“Before that, we couldn’t control anything. So it’s worth it. Rather than having hundreds of thousands of pounds in the physio and treatment room, we will have them in the field.

“It is therefore worth investing money in the training center.”

United spared no effort on their tour, renting the Portguese FA national training facility for a week-long camp that culminated in a friendly against Casa Pia on Friday.

“We’re really happy with it,” Heckingbottom added. “We wanted a better pre-season and that will put us in a good position for the start of the season.

“We will be able to continue and be strong all season.”

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