Sheffield United have held further talks with at least one contender for their managerial vacancy

Sheffield United have held a second round of talks with at least one of the managers on their shortlist of targets as they look to finalise the search for Chris Wilder’s replacement, The Star understands.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 6:19 am

The discussions are believed to have taken place last week, before United’s final match of the season against Burnley, following what was described as a “positive” meeting earlier this month.

Although caretaker Paul Heckingbottom is the only person publicly named by officials at the club as being a contender to succeed Wilder, former Watford and Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic is also known to have been approached about the vacancy while Philippe Clement of Club Brugge boasts several admirers on the Bramall Lane board.

KV Oostende’s head coach Alexander Blessin, who was initially the favourite for the role, now appears destined to remain in Belgium because of complications involving his eligibility for a work permit. Aged 47, he was named as the Jupiler Pro League’s coach of the year after leading Oostende onto the cusp of European qualification.

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After parting company with Wilder in March, United have spent the past two months scouring Europe and beyond for someone capable of leading them back to the Premier League at the first attempt following their relegation last season.

Despite initially overlooking him as a potential candidate, United’s hierarchy are known to have made contact with Jokanovic following their defeat by Crystal Palace.

The Serb, whose contract with Qatari club Al-Gharafa is about to expire, is also being monitored by West Bromwich Albion. Luke Dowling, now sporting director at The Hawthorns, worked with Jokanivic at Vicarage Road.

With Sam Allardyce choosing to resign his position after West Brom joined United in the Championship next term, Wilder is also in the running to succeed the former England manager as he plots the next phase of his career.

Slavisa Jokanovic is in the running for the Sheffield United job: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Heckingbottom, who boosted his own claims by winning three of his final six matches at the helm, has urged United to make a quick decision on who takes charge in order to give themselves the best possible chance of making an immediate return to the top-flight.

Paul Heckingbottom: Darren Staples / Sportimage