Former Sheffield United defender Rob Kozluk has backed Stuart McCall to lift the gloom at Bramall Lane should he be appointed the League One club’s next manager.
The Star understands Motherwell have granted the Blades permission to speak to McCall over their vacant managerial position. The former Scotland international is set to hold talks with United officials over the next 24 hours.
Having dispensed with Danny Wilson’s services last month, United placed Chris Morgan in charge until the end of the 2012/13 campaign. But although Morgan has applied for the job, McCall appears to be the front runner for the full-time role.
United, beaten 2-1 on aggregate in the Play-Off semi-finals by Yeovil Town earlier this month, face another year in the third tier of English football but Kozluk has told The Star he believes McCall is the right person to turnaround their fortunes.
The full-back, who played alongside McCall when United were beaten in the Championship Play-Off final and reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and the FA Cup in 2003, said: “If anyone can lift the players if they are down, it is Stuart. He is a great guy and would not let the players’ heads go down.
“He has achieved things in the sport which most of us could only dream of. It was just a pleasure to play and work with him.
“Under Neil [Warnock], Stuart put on a few training sessions when I was there and they were very enjoyble. He is a big presence. Players have the utmost respect for Stuart and want to do the best that they can for him.”
McCall, who spent two years as a player at Bramall Lane before becoming assistant to Neil Warnock between 2004 and 2007, started his managerial career at Bradford City before taking over at Motherwell in 2010. The Steelmen finished in second place in the Scottish Premier League last term, guaranteeing a spot in next season’s Europa League qualifiers.
McCall, recently named as the SPL’s manager of the year, signed a new two-year deal at Fir Park in March, meaning they would be entitled to a compensation package should he decide to return to United.
“I still speak to Stuart quite a bit,” said Kozluk, now a player-coach at Ilkeston FC. “He has done well as a manager. With all due respect to the SPL, the English game is a totally different ball game. But Stuart has turned Motherwell around and done a good job there.
“He wants to do the best he can in everything he does.”
“Stuart has got good banter and can handle some big characters. He played with Paul Gascoigne at Rangers.”
If McCall is given the job, Kozluk reckons it is imperative the fans get behind him straight away.
“He will not turn it around in a day, a week or a month,” he said. “If it is Stuart who is appointed, they have got to give him a chance.”