Former Sheffield Wednesday striker says club need to 'remove the uncertainty' around vacant manager's position

Former Sheffield Wednesday forward Neil Mellor believes the club need to act sooner rather than later in filling the permanent manager’s position at Hillsborough.

By Alex Miller
Thursday, 15 August, 2019, 15:50

Caretaker manager Lee Bullen has steered the Owls to the top of the Championship having won two games from two and is the overwhelming favourite to take the job on full-time.

Names such as Chris Hughton and Gary Rowett have been mooted as possible candidates for the job since the departure of Steve Bruce to Newcastle a month ago, but a third-straight win for Bullen will surely see his odds tumble further.

Mellor, who scored 13 goals in 33 matches for the Owls on loan from Preston North End in 2010/11, believes Wednesday players would appreciate the confirmation of a permanent manager in the near future.

Speaking to The Sack Race this week, the now-pundit said: “If they are going to give it to Lee Bullen, they need to make that announcement sooner rather than later to get rid of that uncertainty at the club.

“He is showing that he can do it and I don’t know what it’s like within that dressing room at Sheffield Wednesday at the moment.

“If they’re all fully committed to the way Lee Bullen is coaching and the way he’s managing then definitely, he’s the right man for the job.

“But when they start losing games and when we start to see how they react to that, that’ll be the thing.”

Those games may well come after a sympathetic run of fixtures, Mellor says, with the two teams they’ve played – Reading and Barnsley – expected to occupy spots in the lower reaches of the Championship this season.

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“To be in charge for the rest of the season is going to be very difficult [for Bullen],” he said.

“He’s started well, against teams you would expect Sheffield Wednesday to start well against, in Reading and Barnsley.

“The tougher tests will be against the more fancied sides, like Leeds, West Brom, Fulham, Cardiff, those sort of sides are where the big tests will be.

“It still feels a little bit uncertain because whilst he’s only caretaker, the players are thinking: ‘Is someone else going to be coming in?’ And I think the club need to clear that up.”

Mellor, a former Liverpool starlet who’s father Ian also played for Wednesday, said that should owner Dejphon Chansiri decide against the appointment of Bullen, there will be viable names available.

“It’s a great job to get,” he added. I look at names like Chris Hughton and Gary Rowett, I mean Rafa Benitez managed in the Championship and he’s a Champions League-winning manager. Slaven Bilic is in there for West Brom.

“There are a lot of big-name managers and a club like Sheffield Wednesday, the size of them, I think there’ll be a lot of interest.

“It’s if the owner decides to stick with Lee or not, but he’s doing himself all the favours in the world the way he’s started.”