Blades’ clean sweep

mckee cartoon
mckee cartoon

Russell Slade and Chris Wilder look set to rival John Pemberton for the Sheffield United manager’s job.

And former Blades defender Craig Short is emerging as a shock contender at the head of the field, the Telegraph understands.

Short, who cut his managerial teeth with sister club Ferencvaros before a spell with Notts County, is believed to be among candidates sounded out.

On a wider front, a second ex-Sheffield Wednesday boss may be in the running with Brian Laws apparently keen to be considered along with Danny Wilson.

Chairman-owner Kevin McCabe is having to ponder a critical choice between youth and experience after deciding on “a clean sweep at the top” of the club.

Adams had the know-how after three career promotions but was thrown overboard for failing to arrest the slide to relegation. That will also have severed the link with Bramall Lane legend Dave Bassett, who, as consultant, supported Adams and strongly advised keeping him.

It all suggests McCabe won’t necessarily seek a seasoned campaigner, even though many in the game feel the job demands one after the ill-fated dalliance with a first-timer in Gary Speed.

Academy boss Pemberton must be high on the agenda after seeing several of the youngsters he has groomed thrust into the first team and promoted as the future of the club following their historic passage to the final of the FA Youth Cup.

He was recruited long-term specifically for that purpose, although a break in policy cannot be ruled out considering his impressive caretaker spell at Nottingham Forest. If Pemberton and the Blades felt he was viable with an experienced man alongside, there could be an advisory opportunity for Paul Hart, under whom he worked in keeping Crystal Palace up last season.

McCabe may be wary of club connections following Adams’ demise but both Slade and Wilder tick so many boxes other than being ex-Blades.

Slade, former youth coach and briefly caretaker boss, has an excellent record in the lower leagues - now the level for which United need expertise - after spells at Scarborough, Grimsby, Yeovil, Brighton and currently Leyton Orient.

Ex-Bramall Lane right back Wilder has been in management for a decade. He brought Oxford United back into the Football League and has established their status.

It seems unlikely the Blades will revisit Doncaster’s Sean O’Driscoll whose conditions were apparently baulked when he was interviewed before Adams’ appointment.

Of others in a similar bracket, Phil Parkinson - harshly sacked by Charlton - will carry some support based on his work at the Valley and previously with Colchester. Parkinson seems more viable than Mark Robins, who would be hard to shift from Barnsley, or even Chris Hughton, who impressed at Newcastle but lacks knowledge lower down.

But two other out-of-work managers, Wilson and Laws, have a record that bears examination if United and their supporters care to look beyond the Hillsborough connection.

Looking in from outside, Slade, Wilder, Pemberton and perhaps Short seem good bets at this stage.