Sheffield United are set to sack Paul Heckingbottom and turn to former manager Chris Wilder in a desperate attempt to revive their ailing Premier League campaign.
United sit bottom of the table having won just once this season and slumped to an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at Burnley at the weekend. The Blades have also conceded a league-high 39 goals in 14 league games.
Heckingbottom has done an impressive job in the face of adversity at Bramall Lane. He led United to promotion from the Championship last season despite numerous off-field issues. The 46-year-old also had to absorb the sudden departure of prized assets Iliman Ndiaye, last season’s talisman, to Marseille, and Sander Berge, who joined Burnley on the eve of the new campaign.
After the loss at Burnley, Heckingbottom, whose side went down to 10 men after Oli McBurnie was sent off for two bookable offences, blamed United for “making financial decisions rather than football decisions”. Alluding to last month’s 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth, he said: “You go through the last four windows and we’ve been cutting the wage bill, transfer embargoes, selling the best assets, and they’ve spent £200m.”
Wilder would return to United, his boyhood club, with a point to prove. He earned hero status after leading the Blades into the Premier League in 2019 but left by mutual consent following a decline in performances and results in 2021. He was sacked by Watford at the end of last season after failing to spark a promotion push following a difficult reign at Middlesbrough and pulled out of talks to take over at beleaguered third-tier Reading in the summer.
Heckingbottom’s departure from Bramall Lane would represent the first Premier League managerial sacking of the season. By this point last year, five managers had been removed from their posts: Scott Parker (Bournemouth), Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea), Bruno Lage (Wolves), Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa) and Ralph Hasenhüttl (Southampton). – Guardian