Sheffield United: Attention to detail is key

Robert Page, the former United defender, has been interviewed
Robert Page, the former United defender, has been interviewed

Sheffield United’s decision to delay naming their next manager came after they received a flurry of late applications for the role.

The Star understands that members of Bramall Lane’s football club board were on the verge of unveiling Danny Wilson’s successor towards the end of last week but opted to extend the selection process after being contacted by what one source described yesterday as “several persons of interest.”

That prompted United’s hierarchy to postpone their announcement “so that every possible option could be explored,” before a final decision is made.

“Quite a few people have made contact recently,” the source continued. “And some of them could potentially have plenty to offer so the sensible thing would be to take a good look at them and then decide the direction moving forward.

“It’s important to be thorough but these developments go to show that this is still a position people covet.”

Michael Appleton and Keith Curle are the latest candidates to be grilled by United’s selection panel while Robert Page, the former United defender, also travelled to the capital for talks on Tuesday.

Appleton, previously of Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers, is also known to be viewed as a possible replacement for England under-21 coach Stuart Pearce should the 51-year-old leave the national set-up following this summer’s European Championships in Israel.

Curle, a member of Neil Warnock’s backroom staff at both Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers, was an instrumental figure when the latter reached the Premier League in 2011.

He was most recently in charge of Notts County who drew both of their League One fixtures with United last term.

Chris Morgan, appointed on an interim basis when Wilson was relieved of his duties 58 days ago, has also spoken a length with United’s leadership about the reasons behind their failure to secure promotion.

Having been condemned to another season in the third tier of English football when they lost last month’s play-off semi-final with Yeovil Town, those vying to take over the reins at Bramall Lane have been asked to outline their views on how results can be achieved against a backdrop of reduced financial resources.

After employing the services of an independent advisor during the early stages of their search, United directors have now assumed full responsibility for recruiting Wilson’s heir.

Despite initially being scheduled to attend the Football League’s summer conference in Portugal en masse, where installing the governing body’s new chief executive features prominently on the agenda, it is believed that at least one board member elected to remain at home to help conduct interviews.

Wally Downes, most recently a member of Sam Allardyce’s backroom staff at West Ham, has been earmarked for an assistant’s role should Port Vale coach Page secure the position.

“We are determined to follow a procedure to find the right person for Sheffield United,” chief executive Julian Winter said recently.