A decade on from celebrating Burnley’s victory against Sheffield United in the Championship play-off final, Oliver Norwood believes the Blades should use his boyhood club as a model for how to establish themselves in the Premier League.
Norwood grew up a stone’s throw from Turf Moor and used to watch the Clarets from the James Hargreaves Stand, where he was a season ticket holder. He was at Wembley in 2009 when Wade Elliott’s superb strike saw them promoted at United’s expense.
Burnley’s initial stay in the top flight was fleeting but Sean Dyche has since cemented the club’s position in the Premier League.
Ahead of the Claret’s visit to Bramall Lane on Saturday, Norwood sees them as the blueprint Sheffield United should follow now they have been promoted.
“Obviously we came up last season and it’s got to be something we look at to try and develop Sheffield United the way Burnley have done,” said the 28-year-old.
“We need to look at how they’ve gone about it and maybe try and replicate a few things. But we want to do it our own way as well, which we are doing. It’s important we establish Sheffield United as a Premier League club.
“You look at the training facilities now, everything is geared up to being in the Premier League.”
Norwood sees many similarities between Burnley boss Dyche and his manager at Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder.
“Burnley have stuck to their beliefs and not changed for the league,” he said. “You listen to how people think football should be played and all that rubbish, but it’s about winning football matches and accumulating points.
“Burnley play winning football, which is what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s not about being pretty and going home and saying, ‘We got beaten again.’
“This club has honest people who work hard every single day and want to better themselves. I’m sure it’s very similar there.”
Despite his affiliation to Burnley, Norwood insists there will be no split loyalties for him on Saturday.
“I had a season ticket up to the age of 16 and I was there (for the 2009 play-off final), but we’ll keep that one quiet!” he said.
“You could see Turf Moor from my bedroom window. It’s my town and apart from this weekend I want them to do well.
“But that’s all in the past now. I’ve played against Burnley a few times before, obviously not in the Premier League, but it’s just one of those games.
“To me it’s just a job at the end of the day. I’m going to work on Saturday. I’m there to do a job for Sheffield United and I want my team to win.”
The Blades have a couple of injury concerns. Wilder did not name the players who are nursing knocks but said he was hopeful they would be fit for selection.
Wilder could continue to rotate his strikers and Lys Mousset’s equalising goal from the bench at West Ham might see him restored to the starting line up.
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