Paul Heckingbottom takes charge of Sheffield United for the rest of the season, as Tindall checks in and Knill stays on

Paul Heckingbottom will take charge of Sheffield United until the end of the season, the Premier League club has confirmed, with former AFC Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall joining his backroom staff alongside Chris Wilder’s assistant Alan Knill.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 10:08 pm

Heckingbottom, who was unveiled as United’s under-23’s coach earlier this season, fills the breach created by Wilder’s departure, described as being by “mutual consent”, yesterday.

His exit was confirmed by officials at Bramall Lane earlier this evening.

Tindall, a childhood friend of United’s chief executive Steve Bettis, described his appointment as a “privilege”, saying: "I'm looking forward to getting started. “I've previously worked with a couple of the players before and have experience at this level, which I hope will be of benefit to Paul and the team."

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during the Professional Development League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 19th October 2020. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/SportimagePaul Heckingbottom Sheffield Utd U23 coach during the Professional Development League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 19th October 2020. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
during the Professional Development League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 19th October 2020. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/SportimagePaul Heckingbottom Sheffield Utd U23 coach during the Professional Development League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 19th October 2020. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Bettis, who grew up with Tindall in London’s east end, commented: "The appointment of Paul and the integration from development to senior level is testimony to the great work that is currently being done at the academy.

“The club sees the following months as an opportunity to further develop some of our talents at the academy and to give them valuable time to train with the first team.

"Additionally, Jason has a fantastic pedigree and his fresh input will hopefully add a different dimension when he joins the club on Monday. He will have a watching brief at Sunday's game at Leicester."

Knill’s presence in the dug-out, together with goalkeeping coach Darren Ward and his colleague Matt Prestridge, will be welcomed by supporters who were angered by the news that Wilder would be leaving after four and a half successful seasons in charge of United.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Jason Tindall, Manager of AFC Bournemouth looks on after the Sky Bet Championship match between AFC Bournemouth and Millwall at Vitality Stadium on January 12, 2021 in Bournemouth, England. Sporting stadiums around England remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Together with Wilder, Knill arrived in South Yorkshire in May 2016 and was instrumental in helping United win promotion from League One at the first time of asking before they climbed out of the Championship two years later.

However, despite finishing ninth in the Premier League last term, United enter tomorrow’s match in the east Midlands 12 points adrift of safety with only 10 matches remaining.

Heckingbottom, aged 43, enjoyed spells in charge of Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian before joining United’s development programme.

Tindall served as Eddie Howe’s number two at both Dean Court and Burnley, before taking sole charge of Bournemouth following their relegation from the top-flight in July.

Chris Wilder and Alan Knill (second left): Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Despite making an impressive start to his reign in Dorset, Tindall was relieved of his duties following a disappointing run of results.

United’s hierarchy, whose relationship with Wilder was damaged beyond repair following a series of disagreements about transfer strategy and plans to redevelop their first team training complex, are expected to review the new coaching set-up at the end of the campaign.

If Heckingbottom and Tindall prove a success, they could be offered to chance to oversee what is expected to be a major rebuilding project this summer. However, in the statement acknowledging Wilder had left his position, United’s board of directors insisted it is their intention to retain the nucleus of the first team squad and revamp their complex at Shirecliffe.

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