SHEFFIELD UNITED: Crawley Town go for ‘Pembo’

John Pemberton: Took United to the 2011 FA Youth Cup final.
John Pemberton: Took United to the 2011 FA Youth Cup final.
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CRAWLEY Town want John Pemberton, the Sheffield United academy director, to become their new manager.

The Star understands that Town, prompted by director of football Steve Coppell, asked Bramall Lane officials for permission to approach the 47-year-old last night as they look to fill the vacancy created by Sean O’Driscoll’s shock departure for Nottingham Forest.

News of Crawley’s interest will dismay United supporters, many of whom have travelled to Malta ahead of this evening’s friendly against Hibernians, following Pemberton’s rise to prominence in recent months.

A former United defender, he helped th club reach the final of the 2011 FA Youth Cup and several members of that team, including Elliott Whitehouse and Joe Ironside, are expected to join fellow Shirecliffe graduate Harry Maguire in manager Danny Wilson’s first team squad next term.

“John seems to tick all the boxes that Steve is searching for,” an insider at the Sussex club said last night. They look at football in the same way and have similar ideas about how it should be played.

“On top of that, John clearly knows how to bring young players through the ranks and also enjoys a good relationship with Steve.”

With Town pressing for a quick appointment, Pemberton could be forced to make a decision on his future by the end of the week.

United travel to the newly promoted League One club on December 22 before January’s return at Bramall Lane.

Meanwhile, United play the final match of their Maltese tour at Hibernians Stadium, Paola, tonight.

Wilson’s team beat Zejtun Corinthians 6-0 at Ta’Qali international training complex on Monday.