Sheffield United are poised to officially unveil their new manager after holding a further round of negotiations with Nigel Adkins yesterday, writes James Shield.
The former Scunthorpe and Southampton chief met a representative of the League One club’s board of directors at a neutral location in London last night as the search for Nigel Clough’s successor drew to a close.
Adkins, who left Reading in December, first expressed an interest in the post soon after the former England international was axed eight days ago and is understood to have met representatives of United’s co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on at least two other occasions before travelling to the capital.
Bradford City’s Phil Parkinson has also been considered for the role and was the subject of an official approach by Bramall Lane’s hierarchy 48 hours after Clough’s departure was announced. However, while United continued to retain an interest in Parkinson, their Yorkshire rivals rejected that request for talks.
Adkins has not commented publicly on reports linking him with a vacancy created when Clough’s contract was terminated. However, City’s co-owner Mark Lawn has indicated they are ready to hold talks about offering Parkinson an improved deal ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
Parkinson broke his silence this morning, saying: “There was an approach but it didn’t go any further than that and we’ve been liasing every day about plans going forward.”
He returned to his desk at Valley Parade yesterday where members of City’s hierarchy are briefing they are confident of retaining the 47-year-old’s services.
Although sources at Bramall Lane have refused to divulge any details regarding the selection process, The Star understands that Swindon Town’s Mark Cooper was not invited to take charge.
A third, as yet unidentified candidate is believed to have discussed replacing Clough at the helm after submitting their CV but it remains unclear whether they are still under consideration.
Members of United’s hierarchy were summoned to London immediately after Adkins outlined his plans to deliver promotion next season while terms and conditions, together with a proposed transfer budget, are also thought to have been discussed.
That summit is thought to have been called to analyse the information gleaned from interviews with prospective appointments and that there is unanimity at the highest level when a final, binding decision is made.
Clough led United into the last four of both the Capital One and FA cups during his 19 month reign.
Adkins has won promotions at both St Mary’s and Glanford Park. Parkinson achieved the same at Colchester and City where he also reached the Capital One Cup final two years ago.