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Sheffield United boss makes play-off semi-final prediction for Nottingham Forest clash

By Isaac Seelochan

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has been looking ahead to his side's huge play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest. The Blades finished five points and one place behind Steve Cooper's side in the Championship table this season.

Forest have enjoyed a remarkable rise since Cooper took over from former boss Chris Hughton in September. The Reds have gone from the bottom of the table to finishing inside the top-six and were at one stage looking likely to snatch the final automatic promotion spot from Bournemouth.

Cooper's side also had a memorable run in the FA Cup which included a third round victory over record 14-time winners Arsenal and a fourth round win over the holders Leicester City before a narrow quarter-final loss to Liverpool. Forest's loss to Jurgen Klopp's team is the only defeat they've suffered at home this year.

READ MORE: Boss fumes over 'poor decision as Sheffield United decision slammed for Nottingham Forest clash

READ MORE: 'Driving force' - Former Forest ace makes positive play-offs prediction

Their reward for a brilliant campaign under the former Swansea boss is a place in the Championship play-offs for the first time since 2011.

They face a Sheffield United side who clinched their play-off place on the final day with a thumping 4-0 win over runaway champions Fulham. The two sides shared the points in both league meetings between the two teams this season but something will have to give when they lock horns over two-legs in the play-offs.

But Heckingbottom still expects a close match between the two sides as they hunt for a spot in the final against either Luton or Huddersfield Town. Ahead of the first leg on Saturday, the Blades boss told The Star: "I think, for me, we’re going to be looking at two tight games. I definitely think, when you look at the parallels, they are going to be two really enjoyable games as well.

“We’ve got different threats, we’re different teams and we’ll both be going out there and giving it everything.”

He also hinted that his team are unlikely to change their approach for the Forest match, saying: “Our approach has been pretty similar all the way through. I think that’s important, to have that identity and also that clarity.

“Rather than giving people new messages, I think it’s better to reinforce the ones that are already out there. Again, that brings clarity and if things are clear then it gives you the best chance of delivering. We are always looking to improve. But we also like to try and be pretty consistent in what we do.”

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