Sheffield United: Managerial short-list becomes even shorter

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson
Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson
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Sheffield United had last night reduced the short-list of contenders hoping to become their next manager to three, writes James Shield.

Phil Parkinson, who was yesterday the subject of an official approach by the Bramall Lane board, remains under-consideration despite Bradford City’s refusal to grant permission for him to discuss the vacancy while MK Dons’ Karl Robinson and Nigel Adkins are also known to boast admirers among United’s hierarchy.

Nigel Adkins

Nigel Adkins

The Star can confirm that the impasse surrounding Parkinson centres on a clause, contained within his present contract, which demands a rival club must agree to pay a prescribed sum of money before triggering the 47-year-old’s release.

Although the exact figure remains undisclosed, insiders report it could be significantly more than the amount required to buy out the remaining 12 months of his contract.

With Mark Warburton, who is set to leave Brentford, also considered for the vacant role, the selection panel responsible for identifying Nigel Clough’s successor began interviewing applicants within 24 hours of the former England international’s departure on Monday morning.

Parkinson, who has won promotion with both his present employers and Colchester, is thought to be interested in exploring the possibility of joining United given the uncertainty surrounding his long-term future at Valley Parade.

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson

Gianni Paladini, the Neapolitan businessman and former chairman of Queens Park Rangers, has expressed an interest in purchasing City but a period of exclusivity, negotiated with joint-chairman Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn, is scheduled to expire at the end of the month.

City insist they have received no further contact since rebutting Wednesday’s enquiry.

Asked whether they are prepared to discuss extending Parkinson’s agreement, Lawn acknowledged: “That’s up to Phil.

“We’d be happy to do that. He has another year left on his contract and he knows we always look to negotiate new contracts at the end of their terms.”

Mark Lawn

Mark Lawn

United’s interest in Parkinson, among the longest-serving managers in English football having been appointed in 2011, traces back several seasons.

Together with Adkins and Warburton, Robinson is also a free agent but is scheduled to discuss a new contract with MK Dons imminently.

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IN PROFILE: Phil Parkinson

Nigel Clough left Bramall Lane on Monday

Nigel Clough left Bramall Lane on Monday

IN PROFILE: Karl Robinson

IN PROFILE: Nigel Adkins