SHEFFIELD UNITED: Kevin Blackwell bids to transform Shakers fortunes

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FORMER Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell has been appointed Bury’s new boss.

The Shakers had been without a permanent manager since Richie Barker departed to take over at League One rivals Crawley in August, with Peter Shirtliff put in temporary charge.

Blackwell returns to Gigg Lane more than a decade after serving as goalkeeping coach and assistant manager under Neil Warnock.

The 53-year-old takes over at Gigg Lane having previously managed Leeds United, Luton and Sheffield United.

During his time at Elland Road, the former goalkeeper guided Leeds to the Championship play-off final where they were beaten 3-0 by Watford. The Whites parted company with Blackwell four months after their near miss.

Blackwell then endured a troubled 10-month spell at Luton, winning just 16 of 42 matches at the helm.

He went on to succeed Bryan Robson at Bramall Lane in February 2008. In his first full season in charge at United, Blackwell took the club to within one match of getting into the Premier League only to be denied again in the Championship’s Wembley showpiece by Burnley, who won the play-off final thanks to a Wade Elliott strike.

A crippling injury list robbed Blackwell of a number of his best players the following season and United finished in eighth position, five points adrift of the play-off placings, with Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool gaining promotion to the top flight.

United harshly axed Blackwell at the start of the 2010/11 campaign just hours after a 3-0 home loss to Queens Park Rangers, who were managed by Warnock.

It was just the club’s second league match of the season; they drew at Cardiff City in their opener before suffering a shock 2-0 loss at Hartlepool United in the Carling Cup as it was called then. His record at United reads 53 wins, 36 draws and 36 losses from 125 matches. Since departing United, Blackwell has been coaching in the United States and Nigeria.

Bury are without a league win this season and lie bottom of the League One table with just three points from eight matches. Shirtliff, who was placed in caretaker charge of the Shakers after Barker left for Crawley Town, is set to remain part of the coaching staff at the club.

Blackwell will be officially unveiled at a media conference today.