Sheffield United: Blades press ahead with the process

Karl Robinson, manager of MK Dons, boasts plenty of admirers
Karl Robinson, manager of MK Dons, boasts plenty of admirers

Sheffield United will hold another round of interviews with candidates vying to become their next manager today, writes James Shield.

Having initially received around 50 applications for the post following their defeat in the League One play-off semi-finals, the South Yorkshire club are understood to now be pursuing around 10 lines of enquiry after subjecting those to a rigorous selection process.

MK Dons’ Karl Robinson, Stuart McCall of Motherwell and former England defender Gareth Southgate are known to feature on United’s list of potential appointments. As of last night, though, no one presently in employment is believed to have discussed the role with Bramall Lane’s hierarchy.

Keith Curle, Oxford’s Chris Wilder and Leyton Orient’s Russell Slade also boast admirers behind the scenes while Crawley Town have said they will not stand in Richie Barker’s way should he be officially approached.

United, who dispensed with Danny Wilson’s services 38 days ago, have charged their football board with the task of identifying the 53-year-old’s permanent replacement.

Chief executive Julian Winter, director Scott McCabe and chairman David Green sit on the three man panel but The Star has been told they are also taking guidance from independent figures within the game.

Chris Morgan, who took charge on an interim basis when Wilson’s reign ended, has expressed his interest in the job and features on the short-list.

Despite failing to deliver promotion, sources have indicated he impressed with his thoughts on the squad he inherited en route to their double-header with Yeovil Town during an end of season de-brief with members of the coaching and administration staff.

Although United are prepared to pay compensation to recruit the right man, the amount involved could prove prohibitive given Winter’s admission they must become a “sustainable” business rather than rely upon the financial support of owner Kevin McCabe.

While many of those in the frame are known to be on rolling contracts, their terms are likely to include a clause guaranteeing their respective clubs a specific sum should they depart.

McCall, who was named the Clydesdale Bank Manager of the Year after guiding Motherwell to second in the SPL table, is also a member of Scotland chief Gordon Strachan’s backroom staff. However the former United midfielder, who has acknowledged he must cut costs at Fir Park, is not believed to be on the national association’s payroll.

United’s rivals Swindon announced earlier this month they are halving Kevin MacDonald’s first team budget while Robinson yesterday acknowledged that new financial measures has left him with some “tough decisions” to make at stadium:mk.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1