SHEFFIELD United chairman Kevin McCabe has confirmed preparations are already under way for an assault on promotion next season.
McCabe, speaking less than 24 hours after the League One play-off final at Wembley, reassured supporters the club will not “wallow in self-pity” following its penalty shoot-out defeat by Huddersfield Town.
“The planning has already started,” he told The Star. “And we are planning for success.
“Yes, we have suffered a setback. But we are looking to the future now. Not back.
“I don’t think any reasonable person can say we have not given it our all over the course of the year.
“We have not had the best of luck. We never seem to get the breaks but next time we will.
“Hopefully it will be next season because we are going for automatic promotion.
“We’ll be doing exactly the same thing again over the course of the next to get to where we want to be.
“Now we know what division we are in, everything begins in earnest.”
Danny Wilson, the manager responsible for radically transforming United’s style of play after taking charge 12 months ago, will return to his desk at Bramall Lane today to begin plotting what is expected to be a busy summer in the transfer market.
Confirming Wilson has “the full backing of the board” to reshape the squad as he sees fit, McCabe indicated leading members of United’s youth academy at Shirecliffe will also be offered the chance to follow in the footsteps of alumni
such as Matthew Lowton and teenager Harry Maguire.
“There are people who I know the staff feel are ready to make the step up,” McCabe added. “And they’ll be given the opportunity to do that together with others I’m sure who will be coming in.”
United finished third in the table - one
place and nine points ahead of their opponents in the capital - but were denied a place in the Championship after losing 8-7 on spot-kicks.
Nevertheless, with Wilson’s men amassing 90 points and 92 goals in regular league competition en route, McCabe said: “We have had a successful season which has
unfortunately ended in failure. We fell at the final and that hurts. It hurts a lot. I think most right-minded people know why.”
McCabe paid tribute to United’s fans, with more than 27,000 cheering on the team at the national stadium.
“The supporters have been fantastic this season and that’s been very much noted and appreciated by all,” he said. “We hope they stick with us, which we’re sure they will do, because they are a crucial part of what we are trying to achieve.”
McCabe has confirmed the last two seasons have cost the club around £15 million and reiterated that the board are still searching for new investors. United have debts of over £32m and one of the highest wage bills in League One.
“There will be quite a few changes to the squad,” conceded McCabe.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility Stephen Quinn made his final United appearance at the weekend. The long-serving midfielder delivered an accomplished performance and converted his penalty with a minimum of fuss.
McCabe said: “Stephen is a mature professional now. He had an excellent game at Wembley. He is a Blade through and through and I hope he will be with us next season because he is one who always gives us his best.”