Chris Wilder is set to leave his post at Sheffield United after five memorable years at the helm of his boyhood club during which he propelled the Blades from League One to the top-half of the Premier League.
Wilder’s tactical innovation, man management skills and sprinkle of humour were a breath of fresh air during Sheff Utd’s return to the Premier League last season. His side made a complete and utter mockery of all those that predicted they would suffer an instant return to the Championship, with the club securing a 9th-place finish; just two points behind Arsenal and three points off Tottenham.
Wilder’s Blades have since endured a tough second season in the top-flight. They were unable to record a first win until the New Year in what was their 18th league game of the campaign. They’ve since carved out three more victories, including a shock 2-1 win at Old Trafford, but Wilder is now set to depart Bramall Lane with the club 12 points adrift of safety with 10 games to play.
Given Wilder's incredible work and journey at the club, the new incumbent has big shoes to fill and it will now be interesting to see what direction Prince Abdullah takes, with this set to be his first managerial appointment in sole charge of the club.
Sheffield United’s U23s manager Paul Heckingbottom has been installed as the early favourite, although it’s worth pointing out that if he manages 10 games as caretaker boss this will be a ‘winner’ in betting terms. It won’t necessarily mean he’s the next permanent Blades manager.
Heckingbottom previously led Yorkshire rivals Barnsley up into the Championship, complete with success in the EFL trophy. The 43-year-old went on to have a brief stint at Leeds before he made way for Marcelo Bielsa, while his last senior job was at Hibernian.
Eddie Howe, as always, finds himself in the mix for a new job. Like Wilder at Sheff Utd, Howe propelled Bournemouth up the EFL ladder and into the Premier League, where he spent five seasons before parting ways last summer.
Frank Lampard is looking for his third job in management following spells at Derby and Chelsea, while his old Blues teammate John Terry (Aston Villa assistant) is on the hunt for his maiden post.
Neil Lennon can be backed at 8/1 after leaving Celtic. Up until this season, he experienced widespread success at the Hoops across two spells at the helm, while he also won promotion to the Scottish top-flight with Hibs. However, in England he endured a tough time at Bolton, where he won only 22% of his matches.
Valerien Ismael (20/1) is doing a sensational job at Barnsley, whereas David Wagner, Derek McInnes, and the Cowley brothers also feature in the market at this very early stage.
Meanwhile, Wilder has burst into favourite for the Celtic job!
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