Michael Appleton is reportedly one of the names being considered to take over from Chris Wilder at Bramall Lane.
The Sheffield United managerial shortlist appears to be a bit of a mystery at the moment, barring one or two recurring names.
We all know Paul Heckingbottom is one of the names on the list. Stephen Bettis made the admission himself. Alexander Blessin is also thought to be high on that list, although visa issues are looking like preventing United from appointing the German coach.
Beyond that, it’s guess work. Fan-admired Slavisa Jokanovic is surprisingly not on the list, but according to the Sheffield Star, current Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton is.
The Star claims Appleton has at least one big admirer in the United boardroom. And having led Lincoln to the League One playoffs this season, it’s easy to see why he’s caught the eye.
Still just 45, Appleton seems to have been around forever. Spells with Blackburn and Blackpool haven’t gone too well, while he also oversaw a miserable time at Portsmouth, albeit off-field issues dominated.
But Appleton has done well with Lincoln and previously held roles with West Brom and Leicester City. Further, his knowledge of the lower leagues and ability to work on a budget, will also appeal to Prince Abdullah and co.
Michael Appleton to become Sheffield United manager?
Like the appointment of Heckingbottom, this one would probably go down in the ‘uninspiring’ category. And that’s nothing against Appleton or his work.
Chris Wilder came from lower league management and look what happened there. So it’s worth not completely writing off Appleton just yet.
But at a time when the club seems divided again, an appointment like Appleton would, in some fans’ eyes, be display a lack of ambition again from the club’s board. And after parting ways with Wilder, this board needs to show ambition and boldness. For some supporters, this is the only way to build bridges.
The other issue is the contract. Appleton has only penned fresh terms in Lincoln a few months back. Compensation will need to be found, then. And if Lincoln can win promotion, Appleton might also fancy seeing the job through.