Chris Wilder on Sunderland interest and Sheffield United future

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has revealed there has been no approach from Sunderland but admits he doesn't know what "lies ahead" regarding his Blades future.

Friday, 4th May 2018, 12:03 pm
Updated Friday, 4th May 2018, 12:06 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

Wilder is one of the leading contenders to replace Chris Coleman in the dugout at the Stadium of Light, with Stewart Donald's consortium just waiting for EFL approval before their takeover can be completed.

Wilder is highly-regarded in football circles having won two consecutive promotions with Northampton and the Blades, just missing out on the Championship play-offs with the latter this season.

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When asked if he will be the next Sunderland AFC boss, Wilder today told reporters: "I don’t know what lies ahead."

He didn't rule it in or out and confirmed he is yet to have "any dialogue" with Sheffield United's co-owners following his comments last weekend.

After losing 1-0 to Preston North End at the weekend Wilder threatened to leave Bramall Lane should the club’s ownership not be resolved in the near future.

Despite leading his hometown club to the League One title last season, Wilder has grown frustrated by the boardroom battle going on at the Blades, admitting difficulties between co-owners HRH Prince Abdullah binMusa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe are threatening to make his position untenable.

Prince Abdullah, who acquired a 50 per cent stake in United five years ago, has launched a takeover attempt and the issue shows no sign of being resolved soon.

James Shield, Blades reporter at our sister paper The Star, tweeted "Clearly CW's preference is to remain at Bramall Lane. (He again referred to Sheffield United as "my club" on numerous occasions). But he refuses to "retract anything" he said about the ownership situation following last weekend's game against Preston NE."

Wilder and Michael Appleton are among the frontrunners to replace Coleman.

Sunderland won't look to make an appointment until the Stewart Donald-led takeover has been ratified by the EFL.

Due diligence is currently being carried out but the Echo understands multi-millionaire Donald is not anticipating any problems having agreed a deal to buy the club from Ellis Short.

And the first priority will be to appoint a manager.

Both Wilder and Appleton are known to Donald through his links at Oxford United, the Sunderland owner-in-waiting is an Oxford fan and former sponsor.

Wilder and Appleton have both managed Oxford and Donald has kept a close eye on their careers since, with the duo strong contenders for the Sunderland job.

Donald's role in the takeover has upgraded significantly from an initial makeweight in the consortium to the leading man, with the Eastleigh owner's investment set to be substantial.

Appleton is currently assistant to Claude Puel at Premier League Leicester City.

Highly-regarded in the game for his coaching abilities, he overcame a difficult start to his managerial career to impress as boss of Oxford United.