Sheffield United are 'holding talks' about who becomes their next manager, as a quick appointment is urged

Sheffield United’s caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom has intimated the club will wait until the end of the season before announcing Chris Wilder’s permanent successor, despite acknowledging a quick appointment would be desirable in order to lay the foundations for a promotion push next season.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 6:00 am

With their relegation from the Premier League confirmed following Saturday’s defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers, United’s focus off the pitch has now turned towards trying to return at the first attempt - something Norwich City achieved over the weekend despite going down last term.

Despite concerns about his eligibility for a work permit under post-Brexit legislation, Oostende head coach Alexander Blessin is known to have attracted interest from Bramall Lane’s board of directors while Slavisa Jokanovic, previously of Watford and Fulham, would be a popular choice among supporters.

Heckingbottom, who could also come under consideration after impressing United’s hierarchy with his conduct since being handed the reins on a temporary basis.

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Wolverhampton, England, 17th April 2021. Paul Heckingbottom temporary manager of Sheffield Utd looks on dejected at the final whistle during the Premier League match at Molineux, Wolverhampton. Picture credit should read: Darren Staples/ Sportimage

Asked if reaching a decision sooner rather than later would provide whoever takes over with a better opportunity of constructing a squad capable of following in City’s footsteps, Heckingbottom said: “I think it would make sense for a quick appointment. But there’s lots of reasons why that’s not the case though, and I’m sure we can all speculate about why that’s the case.”

Although Heckingbottom did not divulge exactly what those are, Blessin appears to fall short of the criteria required to hold a coaching role in this country having only taken charge of the Belgians last summer. Jokanovic’s contract with Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa expires shortly, when he is expected to return to Europe following two years in the Middle East.

Citing the recruitment strategy devised by Daniel Farke and his staff at Carrow Road as something United should study and attempt to replicate, Heckingbottom said: “What you want is clarity and direction. That comes from above.

“That needs to come from there and then everyone and everything else falls into line. But I know for a fact that discussions are taking place and decisions are being made and talked about behind the scenes.

“Whoever it is, they will want to be involved in recruitment.”