Sheffield Wednesday: Warnock could be candidate

Neil Warnock is looking to get back in football
Neil Warnock is looking to get back in football
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Neil Warnock could emerge as a shock contender for the managerial vacancy at Sheffield Wednesday after revealing he is planning a return to football seven months after parting company with Leeds.

But Warnock, who spent nearly eight years in charge of Sheffield United, told The Star only “interesting” and “challenging” offers will tempt him back to the touchline.

Wednesday dispensed with Dave Jones’ services after Saturday’s defeat at Blackpool left them 23rd in the Championship table.

Although Warnock refused to comment on speculation linking him with United’s arch-rivals, he said: “I’ve spoken with my wife, Sharon, and she’s given me her blessing to get back into the game until the end of the season.

“I think I’m starting to get under her feet now around the house so she’d probably love me to get another job! Joking aside, though, I’d want something that was interesting and a challenge.”

The prospect of Warnock replacing Jones at the helm will divide opinion among the Hillsborough support, given his strong connections with Bramall Lane. But there are numerous reasons why chairman Milan Mandaric, who last night remained tight-lipped about the identities of those being considered for the role, might be tempted to consider the 65-year-old as Jones’ successor.

Warnock inherited a team spiralling towards relegation after being appointed United manager in 1999 before reaching the Premier League six seasons later. He subsequently repeated the feat with Queens Park Rangers and boasts seven promotions on a CV which also includes spells with Crystal Palace, Notts County, Huddersfield and Plymouth.

Warnock is understood to have been on the verge of rejoining Palace last month until Selhurst Park’s board of directors, who unveiled Tony Pulis nine days ago, decided to make a long-term appointment.

Mandaric, meanwhile, has revealed that he is compiling a list of candidates and is conducting an “aggressive” search.

He is unsure whether the Owls will be able to make an appointment by the weekend, when they play Forest at Hillsborough.

Coach Stuart Gray is in charge for tonight’s game against Leicester.

Mandaric told The Star: ”I’m in the process of carrying out an aggressive search, putting together a list and looking to hold interviews.” He has also indicated that almost 60 applications have been received.

Comparison site last night showed Rotherham boss Steve Evans being backed down to 1-2 favourite, with BetVictor, amid claims the Owls want to talk to him.

But Evans is as high as 11-4 with Stan James, who have Stuart Pearce as 2-1 favourite.

Warnock odds ranged from 7-2 with SkyBet and Coral to 16-1 with BetVictor.