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      What Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom said about Middlesbrough’s dangerous man Chuba Akpom

      ByMonelo Gabriel

      Feb 14, 2023

      Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has challenged his team to keep Chuba Akpom calm tomorrow night. Middlesbrough are the top scorer in the Championship, having scored 17 goals in all competitions so far this season.

      The 27-year-old has taken his game to new heights since the arrival of Michael Carrick last year. Two of Akpom’s 16 league goals came against the Blades in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, one of which was a late equalizer to clinch a 2–2 draw at Riverside Stadium.

      But Heckingbottom has emphasized that United cannot set up just to stop Akpom and that Boro has a host of other threats they need to focus on nullifying as well.

      READ MORE: ‘Game changer’ Sander Berge enjoying best form of career as exciting set of Sheffield United goals

      “He’s not playing like a nine at the moment,” Heckingbottom said in his pre-game press conference. “He finds himself in those positions, but he usually starts from deeper. That works well with the way Cameron Archer likes to play the shoulder.

      “There’s a good balance to them and a clear way that they’re looking to play and looking to hurt whoever’s in front of them. Individuals get attention, but we have to focus on why it’s effective.”

      “He’s not effective just because he’s on the field. There’s a way they play and look to play to make it a handful. That’s what we have to focus on.”

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      Both sides are enjoying great seasons. United sit in second place, comfortably ahead of Boro. Middlesbrough is third in the standings and trails the Blades by 10 points, having played one more game.

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