Sheffield United’s hierarchy were last night holding a top-level summit meeting aimed at drawing their search for a new manager to a close.
Representatives of the selection panel charged with identifying Danny Wilson’s successor, together with the independent advisor overseeing the interview process, are understood to be discussing the appointment at a secret location in Spain.
Candidates on what is believed to be a four man short-list, which includes at least one as yet unidentified name, are expected to undergo a third and final grilling in England next week.
Former United defender Robert Page and first-team coach Chris Morgan are among the front-runners for the vacant position, having impressed Bramall Lane’s hierarchy with their plans to overhaul the club’s squad.
Page, aged 38, was appointed to Port Vale’s coaching staff following a successful spell in charge of their centre of excellence team.
Morgan, who made his United debut alongside Page 10 years ago, was handed the reins on an interim basis when Wilson was relieved of his duties in April.
Candidates have been told they must be willing to deploy graduates from United’s Redtooth Academy in senior competition next term, with the likes of Joe Ironside, Callum McFadzean and Elliott Whitehouse all handed prominent roles by Morgan en route to last term’s League One play-off semi-final with Yeovil Town.
As The Star revealed earlier this month, Gareth Southgate is also known to command the respect of senior figures within United’s boardroom.
Southgate worked as the Football Association’s head of elite development after leaving Middlesbrough.