Sheffield United manager shortlist officially down to five

Matthew Briggs

Paul Heckingbottom has been included on a managerial shortlist of five as Sheffield United close in on appointing their new boss.

Former Leeds boss Heckingbottom was placed in interim charge last month after Chris Wilder’s departure from the club. The 43-year-old was unable to stop the Blades from getting relegated, but he did guide them to their first win. The 1-0 success over Brighton was his first in six games and the club believe he has performed “commendably”.

Barnsley-born Heckingbottom is in the frame to get the job, along with a quartet of other candidates.

United chief executive Stephen Bettis said: “The process of searching for a new manager to lead Sheffield United next season and beyond continues and remains the biggest priority at Bramall Lane.

“When Paul Heckingbottom was placed as interim manager back in March, we commented that he would remain in charge of team matters until the end of the season.

“That remains the case. We have spoken to a number of potential candidates, both in this country and abroad. And will continue to do so in the best possible interests of the club. Due diligence is an important factor as we strive to appoint the right person to enable us to make a promotion push from the EFL Championship.

Pereira link

“We have now cut our search down to a shortlist of five candidates, which includes Paul Heckingbottom, who has performed commendably in the circumstances. The board of directors will continue to take time to deliberate whilst the current season remains in progress.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank all Unitedites for their patience.”

Last month TEAMtalk revealed former Fulham assistant Javier Pereira had emerged as a candidate to take charge.

It’s unclear whether Pereira, who was former number two to Slavisa Jokanovic, has made the shortlist. Jokanovic himself has been linked with the job in South Yorkshire.

Neil Lennon, Eddie Howe, Frank Lampard and Danny Cowley are all in the betting, but Heckingbottom remains the favourite.

READ MORE: Heckingbottom admits future of Liverpool, Arsenal target ‘out of my hands’