Paul Heckingbottom appears to be edging closer to becoming the new permanent manager of Sheffield United.
That’s according to The Sheffield Star, who say the Blades board have asked Heckingbottom to put a plan in place for the Championship.
United will be returning to the second tier of English football next season after being relegated from the Premier League.
Their latest defeat was a 4-0 hammering at Tottenham Hotspur. Yet that humbling loss in North London has apparently not hindered Heckingbottom’s chances.
It’s already known the 43-year-old is on a five-man shortlist being considered to succeed Chris Wilder as boss. That’s because Blades chief executive, Stephen Bettis, publicly admitted as such.
Heckingbottom had previously remained quiet on the subject of taking charge permanently at Bramall Lane. But the current caretaker recently said it would be a great job.
The club’s hierarchy have also been impressed with how Heckingbottom has conducted himself since Wilder left nearly two months ago.
Paul Heckingbottom does not represent an inspiring choice for Sheffield United
The Blades will be looking to get promoted back to the top flight at the first time of asking next term.
Yet in a competitive Championship, that will be no easy task for whomever takes over.
Whether Heckingbottom is the man to achieve that is debateable. The reaction from these fans to him being on the shortlist suggests they have doubts.
The general consensus seems to be that Heckingbottom has been solid in difficult circumstances, but would be uninspiring on a permanent basis.
We’ve written as much on this site recently.
Especially as it seems Heckingbottom isn’t owner Prince Abdullah’s first choice.
That remains Alexander Blessin, but it’s becoming clear that hiring him from Oostende is unlikely.
Blessin does not fit the criteria to get a job in England post-Brexit. United are hoping to get special dispensation, but aren’t expected to win that case.
Heckingbottom appears to be the easy choice, rather than the right one.