Sheffield United’s hierarchy were last night locked in top level talks as the search for the League One club’s new manager approaches end-game.
The Star understands that Bramall Lane’s board of directors are hopeful of unveiling David Weir’s permanent successor before Saturday’s visit of Port Vale although an announcement could be made within 24 hours.
Co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad, who acquired 50 per cent of United’s parent company a month ago, will have the final say on who takes charge after dispensing with Weir’s servives on Friday.
However, a team of trusted advisors have helped the businessmen compile their short-list of suitable candidates.
Although United’s board of directors have refused to divulge the identities of those being considered for the role, Crawley Town’s Richie Barker, Karl Robinson of MK Dons, Keith Curle and Leyton Orient’s Russell Slade are known to boast admirers behind the scenes.
Nigel Clough, named by caretaker manager Chris Morgan as a possible contender, yesterday told friends that agreeing a severance package with Derby County remained his immediate priority.
The 47-year-old was controversially dismissed by officials at Pride Park last month and it remains unclear when those negotiations will be concluded.
Nevertheless, members of United’s backroom staff have been told to expect Weir’s replacement to arrive in time to finalise their preparations for the meeting with Vale.
Adam Owen, the former Scotland international’s assistant with responsibility for performance related matters, remains in post.
One of the first items on the successful candidate’s agenda will be deciding whether to renew Ryan Hall’s loan or allow the winger to return to Leeds.
United had previously indicated Hall, who has made five appearances since leaving Elland Road on a short-term basis, would be unavailable to face Micky Adams’ side.
However, a review of the paperwork which accompanied the deal has prompted United’s Yorkshire rivals to insist Hall is eligible for selection this weekend.
The 25-year-old, who turned professional with Crystal Palace, indicated he would welcome the idea of an extended stay after making his United debut against Preston.