Sheffield United have confirmed that they have offered assistant Alan Knill the chance to remain at Bramall Lane, despite the departure of manager Chris Wilder.
Knill first began working with Wilder in 2008 when he was manager at Bury, but the roles reversed when Knill became the assistant at Northampton Town in 2014, and the pair spent the next seven years together before Wilder’s departure from Sheffield United earlier this month.
Knill has not formally left the club but will not be involved in Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Chelsea, with Paul Heckingbottom taking charge, but the club have confirmed on their official website that they have made a long-term offer to Knill to remain at Bramall Lane.
“Manager Paul Heckingbottom will be supported by Jason Tindall, Matt Duke and other long-term members of staff at today’s FA Cup quarter-final,” a statement read. “The Club has made Alan Knill an offer to remain on a long term basis. He, with the support of Heckingbottom, has been given additional time to consider his options.
“Backroom staff Matt Prestridge, Darren Ward and Mike Allen will not be part of the United contingent at Chelsea.”
It is not clear what role Knill has been offered at Bramall Lane. Heckingbottom is only the interim manager as it stands, but whether the club want Knill to replace him or simply remain alongside any incoming manager is unknown.
It’s a fresh bit of chaos injected into what has undoubtedly been a crazy season for Sheffield United. The decision to sack Wilder, whose relationship with the club’s hierarchy had deteriorated irreparably, caused real concern among fans who were disappointed to see such an important manager forced out the club.
The Blades remain 14 points adrift of safety in the Premier League, with Heckingbottom losing his first match in charge – a 5-0 mauling at the hands of Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City.
A deep run in the FA Cup looks like the only chance of joy in this disappointing campaign, but coming up against Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten Chelsea might just bring an end to that.