The race to become the next manager of Sheffield United is down to just five people now, after Stephen Bettis issued a statement yesterday.
After whittling down the list from what is said to be around 25 or even more applicants, it looks like Prince Abdullah and his team now have a small list to choose from. Among them, by Bettis’ own admission, is current interim boss, Paul Heckingbottom.
‘Hecky’ has just the one win so far with Jason Tindall as his assistant. But he is thought to have impressed those at Bramall Lane. Indeed, he should take some credit for picking up on the hardest of tasks in replacing Chris Wilder in the immediate.
But in terms of the other four names in the running, there has been little given away. Bettis confirmed that the club had spoken to candiates at home and abroad. This suggests the net has been cast far and wide.
The five managers in line to be next Sheffield United manager
We already know Heckingbottom is one. It’s also abundantly clear that Alexander Blessin is one of the preferred candidates at board level.
However, Blessin has apparently had a work-permit application rejected and although he can appeal, it has scuppered the club’s hopes somewhat.
Beyond that, we know Slavisa Jokanovic has been mentioned a number of times already. He is experienced at Championship level and has a proven track record of winning promotion. He is set to leave his role in Qatar this summer, meaning he would be available.
The other two names remain more of a mystery. We know Michael Appleton has admirers at Bramall Lane. He might well be one of the home grown names that is being considered. He has led Lincoln City to the playoffs this season, with Championship football a very real possibility for him next season anyway.
The most likely fifth name in the hat is likely to be one of two. John Terry is a name that has stuck about for a bit. The Aston Villa coach is wanting a route into management, and would be a high profile appointment if anything else. Brian Deane, however, has warned against this type of decision.
Jason Tindall might be the other in contention. However, it would be difficult to see how Tindall gets the job and Heckingbottom doesn’t. The only way that might happen is if Hecky, as he’s admitted to wanting to do already, simply goes back to his under-23 duties.
That way, he can always be a helping hand and lend an ear to Tindall should he get the role.
United fans, as usual, face an agonising wait to find out who the new manager is going to be. There is no rush, of course. But the sooner we know who’s coming in, the sooner we can all move on and prepare for next year.