Sheffield United: Southgate Lane poser

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate
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Sheffield United plan to interview the first candidates vying to fill the managerial vacancy at Bramall Lane later this week.

Chris Morgan, who replaced Danny Wilson on an interim basis last month, is among the front-runners for the role after being guaranteed a place on the League One club’s shortlist. Despite being impressed with the 35-year-old’s work en route to the play-off semi-finals, United’s hierarchy also plan to meet with a number of other potential targets before unveiling Wilson’s permanent successor.

Leyton Orient’s Russell Slade, Karl Robinson of MK Dons and Motherwell’s Stuart McCall are all likely to prove of interest while former Middlesbrough chief Gareth Southgate could be tempted to apply after resigning his post as the Football Association’s head of elite development.

However, it remains unclear whether Southgate, despite indicating a desire to return to management, would be prepared to work below Championship level.

Chief executive Julian Winter recently confirmed United had been contacted by a “significant volume” of people keen to explore the possibility of taking charge next term.

“Of those, about 20 were what you’d describe as being of real quality,” he said. “But we’ll whittle it (the short-list) down to something shorter than that.

“You are probably looking at being around seven names.”

Although United are keen to make a quick appointment - chairman David Green and director Scott McCabe will join Winter on the selection panel - their desire not to breach protocol could extend the process if they request permission to meet an employee of a rival club.

United have also delayed releasing their list of retained and released players although centre-forward Dave Kitson seems certain to depart when his short-term contract expires shortly.

“Our job is preparing the ground for a new manager, ” said Winter.