Sheffield Utd chief speaks as Jokanovic is sacked and replacement is named

Date published: Thursday 25th November 2021 3:04 - Steven Hughes

Paul Heckingbottom Sheffield United

Sheffield United have appointed Paul Heckingbottom as their new manager, replacing Slavisa Jokanovic.

The South Yorkshire club have parted company with Jokanovic, after a slow start to the Championship season. They are currently in 16th place in the Championship. Just last year, they were playing in the Premier League.

We understood the Blades did consider former Norwich boss Daniel Farke. However, it’s Heckingbottom who has proved the overwhelming choice with their board.

Heckingbottom has signed a four-year deal with the club, and will take charge of his first match on Saturday against Bristol City.

In 2020, Heckingbottom arrived at the club as the Under-23s manager. He has previously been manager at Leeds United, Hibernian and Barnsley.

A year later, Heckingbottom was placed in caretaker charge after the departure of Chris Wilder. They won three of their last six games.

As such, Heckingbottom was shortlisted for the role on a permanent basis. However, the Sheffield United board opted for Jokanovic instead, who has two Championship promotions to his name.

Meanwhile, Heckingbottom has enlisted the help of former Blades player Jack Lester as Head of Player Development. Stuart McCall will also be his assistant. He has most recently been Neil Critchley’s assistant at Blackpool.

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Talking to the club’s website, chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa commented: “We look forward to embarking on a new era in Blades football with Paul at the helm.

“Paul possesses the personal leadership qualities and technical football skills the board feels are essential.

“He shares our values and interest in player development. He also possesses the ambition and determination to get the most out of our current squad.”

Stephen Bettis, United’s chief executive officer, added: “Disappointingly, after a slow start, we have not seen an improvement in results and performances. We’d prefer to be in a better league position.

“A decision has been made and now it is important that we look forward, Paul’s style and ethos matches that of the club and we will support him where possible.

“We have enough league games remaining, we know we have the ability and resources within our playing squad to start picking up points and climbing the league table.”

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