The familiar figure still turning-up to Sheffield United's games

Despite not appearing on the touchline for over a month, Sheffield United’s former assistant manager Alan Knill has continued to attend the club’s fixtures since reportedly rejecting the offer of a position within its technical department.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 5:30 pm

Chris Wilder’s number two before the 53-year-old left Bramall Lane on the eve of United’s visit to Leicester City nearly five weeks ago, Knill joined caretaker Paul Heckingbottom inside the technical area at the KP Stadium but was granted permission to miss the trip to Chelsea a week later to mull over the proposed change of role.

With an official announcement yet to be forthcoming, Knill is thought to have declined the proposal tabled by United’s hierarchy in the wake of Wilder’s departure. But the FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge apart, Knill has been spotted watching every other game United have contested under Heckingbottom from the stands; including Saturday’s defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers, which brought their two season stay in the Premier League to an end.

That suggests Knill is still yet to agree a severance package with United, who also parted company with coaches Matt Prestridge and Darren Ward and Mikey Allen, their previously long serving analyst, following Wilder’s exit.

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Alan Knill (R) and former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Alan Knill (R) and former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Heckingbottom, who stated he wanted to work with Knill before returning from the east Midlands, is expected to remain in interim charge until the end of the campaign when United are expected to unveil Wilder’s permanent successor.

Despite concerns he could struggle to qualify for a work permit under post-Brexit legislation, Oostende head coach Alexander Blessin is known to have attracted admiring glances from United’s board of directors. Slavisa Jokanovic, previously of Watford and Fulham, would be a popular choice among supporters but has yet to be contacted even though his contract with Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa expires shortly.

After managing Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian before moving to South Yorkshire to develop United’s under-23 players, Heckingbottom is also highly regarded by members of their hierarchy. However, he has admitted to ensuring he can eventually return to that job before agreeing to oversee United’s first team affairs on a temporary basis.

Jason Tindall, the former AFC Bournemouth manager, is helping Heckingbottom prepare for this weekend’s meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Alan Knill at Leicester City: Andrew Yates/Sportimage