Blades closing in on next boss

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SHEFFIELD United’s search for a new manager was entering its final stages last night as officials from the South Yorkshire club finalised their short-list of applicants.

And, in a new twist, it emerged that those vying to replace Micky Adams have been asked to submit a comprehensive set of references in support of their case.

Former Sheffield Wednesday chief Danny Wilson and Mark Robins, previously of Barnsley, are understood to be interested in the vacant post while Plymouth Argyle’s Peter Reid is also believed to covet the job.

The rigorous selection process, devised by plc chairman Kevin McCabe, is already known to have cost one high-profile contender his place in the queue to succeed Adams who was sacked after failing to preserve United’s Championship status.

Representatives of Bramall Lane’s board of directors held their latest round of interviews over the weekend but recently resolved not to make a decision until after John Pemberton’s squad faced Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup Final second leg on Monday.

Calls for Pemberton, United’s academy director, to be considered have grown since Sir Alex Ferguson praised the visitors’ performance despite them slipping to defeat.

Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy has expressed concerns Keith Hill could be tempted by a move across the Pennines despite rejecting Barnsley’s advances.

Ched Evans has been linked with a £1 million move to Leicester City.