The race to become Sheffield United’s next manager will gather pace this week when the League One club begins interviewing candidates for the vacant role.
Sources close to the process have told The Star they aim to reach a decision by the end of the month as Bramall Lane’s hierarchy bids to ensure Danny Wilson’s permanent successor is in place by the time the transfer window opens.
However chief executive Julian Winter, who together with fellow director Scott McCabe and chairman David Green has been charged with assessing short-listed applicants, has raised the prospect of a second round of talks should several interested parties present a compelling case.
This newspaper has also learned that the three-man panel will seek guidance from several hand-picked figures from within the world of football before announcing their preferred choice.
“We have compiled a detailed managerial profile,” Winter said. “And, together with the job description, a short-list on the basis of that.
“Ideally we want to conclude everything as soon as possible but we won’t compromise on being rigorous.”
United’s panel will hold court at a top secret location a discreet distance away from their stadium.
Chris Morgan, who took charge on an interim basis when Wilson departed less than four weeks before the ill-fated play-off semi-final with Yeovil Town, is expected to be the first to meet Winter and his colleagues.
Although United are also considering the claims of external candidates - “We’ve been open with Chris,” Winter said - they are right not to dismiss Morgan’s claims to the post.
Despite his loyalty to Wilson, the 35-year-old has his own distinct methods and ideas. A run of seven matches, with a squad inherited from his predecessor, is no basis upon which to judge Morgan’s suitability.
Leyton Orient’s Russell Slade, previously of Scarborough and Yeovil, is likely to have impressed with his ability to deliver results on a tight budget.
Central Coast Mariners’ Graham Arnold is understood to be keen on exploring the possibility of a move to South Yorkshire. But, despite credentials which include a spell with the Socceroos, his inexperience of the English game could prove an obstacle.
Especially given Winter’s admission that recruitment will now focus on “the best of the lower divisions” rather than household names.