Speed knows importance of success at Sheffield United

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Gary Speed has been given his first shot at management by Sheffield United and will be keen to get the fans immediately on his side by securing victory in his opening game in charge at Middlesbrough.

Kevin Blackwell left the club by mutual consent within an hour of the Championship defeat at home to QPR in their last game and little time has been wasted in moving Speed into the post.

The Blades are 3/1 to secure their first victory of the season at the Riverside as they seek to climb the table from their current position in the relegation places.

Speed knows the importance of being successful in his first managerial position, but feels that his previous role as player-coach has given him a head start in gaining the respect of the squad.

According to the Yorkshire Post, he said: “Your first job is very important – it will make or break you as a manager.

“If you don’t make a fist of it you’re going to struggle from there on in. I know this is going to be hard work but I’m also confident in my own ability.”

Sheffield United have been out of the Premier League since being relegated in 2007, but are 25/1 to return at the end of this season as champions.

Meanwhile, they are 9/2 to simply gain promotion, with Ched Evans likely to be their biggest source of goals.

He is 25/1 to finish the campaign as the top-scorer in the Championship, with new Cardiff signing Craig Bellamy the 4/1 favourite.

Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and QPR are all 9/4 to gain promotion to the Premier League from the Championship this season.

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