Former Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom could get surprise chance to lead Sheffield United at Leicester City, with Chris Wilder poised to leave Blades

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Paul Heckingbottom could be in caretaker charge of Sheffield United when they travel to Leicester City this weekend, as the Blades prepare to confirm the exit of their manager Chris Wilder.

The former Barnsley and Leeds boss has impressed with his handling of United's U23 side since being appointed as lead coach in the summer, and could get a surprise chance to manage the Blades on Sunday at the King Power Stadium.

An announcement, confirming that Wilder is leaving after five years in the role, could be made later today. Wilder led United to the Premier League with two promotions in three years, but recent disagreements with the Bramall Lane board on a number of issues - including recruitment - left his position at his boyhood club in doubt.

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Heckingbottom led his hometown club Barnsley to a Wembley double in 2015/16, winning the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and then the League One play-off final.

He later managed Leeds and Hibernian, and arrived at United in the summer. He has led United's U23s to second in their league table this season, with youngsters including Iliman Ndiaye, Zak Brunt and Frankie Maguire recently making the step up to United's senior squad.

"Paul is a fantastic coach and a great appointment for the club," said United's academy chief Jack Lester when unveiling Heckingbottom.

Paul Heckingbottom: Simon Bellis/SportimagePaul Heckingbottom: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Paul Heckingbottom: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

"He brings a wealth of experience to the Academy and we are delighted to have secured his services.

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“We have some excellent prospects coming through in the next few years and it is vital we have top coaches, like Paul, and Derek Geary, who remains lead coach for the U18s, to develop them."

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