Sheffield United could wait to discover if Karl Robinson plans to negotiate his contract offer at MK Dons before entering the final phase of their search for a new manager, writes James Shield.
Bramall Lane’s hierarchy, who ended Nigel Clough’s reign earlier this week, are believed to have compiled a shortlist of three serious candidates after receiving over 50 expressions of interest following the 49-year-old’s departure on Monday.
Bradford City’s Phil Parkinson is known to feature among United’s preferred options to replace Clough having been the subject of an approach by representatives working on behalf of co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Abdulaziz Al Saud.
City refused permission after insisting United must pay an undisclosed sum, thought to be worth more than the remaining 12 months on Parkinson’s present agreement, before holding talks.
Officials at Valley Parade have not ruled-out the possibility of their Yorkshire rivals activating the clause they inserted into the former Charlton Athletic and Colchester chief’s deal two seasons ago.
But the situation has been complicated by the fact that Robinson has yet to commit his future to the Dons despite leading them into the Championship last term and is poised to become a free agent.
Discussions between the Liverpudlian and his chairman Pete Winkelman gathered pace immediately after the club gained automatic promotion from League One. Like Parkinson, who has enjoyed admirers among the board of directors for several years, United’s interest in Robinson is historic. Indeed, he was viewed as a serious contender for the post both before and after David Weir’s brief tenure in 2013.
Nigel Adkins and Mark Warburton, who has been informed his services are no longer required by Brentford, have also been linked with the role.
Parkinson, aged 47, and Robinson, 13 years his junior, are the sixth and third longest serving managers in English football respectively.
Both also boast a promotion from the third tier on their CV’s with Parkinson leading Colchester to a second placed finish in 2006 before guiding City to League Two play-off success seven seasons later.
Clough spent 19 months in charge of United, reaching the last four of the FA and Capital One cups.