SHEFFIELD United have appointed Frank Barlow as their new assistant manager.
As The Star reported last month, Danny Wilson identified the 64-year-old as his number two within hours of being interviewed for a post Micky Adams’ vacated after failing to prevent the club being relegated from the npower Championship.
Barlow, a former United midfielder, has previously worked with Wilson at Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol City.
“I’ve come full circle,” he said. “There were two real pulls to take this job.
“The first is the opportunity to work with Danny again. He is a top quality manager and a trustworthy man.
“The second is the opportunity to return to my first club.”
Despite claims to the contrary, Barlow was always Wilson’s first and only choice for the role.
His delayed arrival can be attributed to contractual and professional obligations at Sunderland, where he was Steve Bruce’s chief scout, rather than any procrastination on United’s part.
With a busy summer of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market ahead, Barlow’s contacts and experience will prove an invaluable resource as Wilson looks to re-shape the squad he inherited from Adams.
Bramall Lane’s board of directors have acknowledged that several big names, including Ched Evans and Stephen Quinn, are likely to depart ahead of the forthcoming League One campaign.
Barlow made over 120 league appearances for United after signing professional terms in 1965 before moving to Chesterfield where he took his first steps on the coaching ladder.
Having later taken sole charge at Saltergate, he also boasts spells at Scunthorpe, Barnsley, Walsall, Nottingham Forest, Hull City and Wigan on his footballing CV.
Intriguingly, Barlow served as Wednesday manager Gary Megson’s right hand man at the City Ground.
Although United have dismissed claims that Wilson will be unable to recruit new players until their wage bill is reduced, that is exactly the situation facing some of those interested in prising away the likes of Quinn, Darius Henderson and Evans.
Middlesbrough are understood to be interested in the Wales international but are unable to submit a bid until they off-load Kris Boyd.
Tony Mowbray, Wilson’s counterpart on Teesside, has also been forced to delay a swoop for Roda’s Anouar Hadouir.
“When you have the squad you want, the money is right and you are working within your means you can look at pushing in the direction you want,” Mowbray said. “If you can sell one to bring one in and wheel and deal, hope the phone rings to move on players then the sums are never right so you may have to subsidise players who are not even playing for you.”
Quinn counts Swansea and Wigan among his admirers but the uncertainty surrounding Roberto Martinez’s position at the DW Stadium could force them to withdraw from the race.
Henderson has repeatedly stressed he will not ask to leave after insisting he feels “personally responsible” for United’s failures last term.