Sheffield United have appointed Paul Heckingbottom as Slavisa Jokanovic’s successor at Bramall Lane.
The club have confirmed that Heckingbottom has signed a long-term contract with the Blades until the summer of 2026.
Stuart McCall also comes into the club as his assistant, having left Blackpool earlier in the day.
Paul Heckingbottom has been installed as the club’s football manager.
Heckingbottom will bring in a number of coaches to support his role, including Jack Lester, who becomes head of player development, and Stuart McCall, who is the new assistant manager. #SUFC 🔴
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) November 25, 2021
The Blades have taken the decision to sack Jokanovic after a lacklustre start to the season has left them 16th after 19 fixtures, having suffered eight defeats.
In the same statement confirming Jokanovic’s exit, it has been revealed that Heckingbottom will take immediate charge on a contract until 2025/26.
The 44-year-old has previously been in-charge of both Barnsley and Leeds United in the Championship, as well as managing Hibernian in Scotland.
Heckingbottom oversaw Sheffield United’s relegation into the Championship last season on an interim basis, but still picked up Premier League wins over Everton, Burnley and Brighton along the way after Chris Wilder’s departure.
He steps up from his role in the U23s and is joined by McCall as his assistant. Additionally, Jack Lester becomes head of player development.
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Jokanovic’s final game in-charge of Sheffield United was a 1-0 win over Reading on Tuesday evening, with Heckingbottom tasked on building on that this Sunday when the Blades host Bristol City at Bramall Lane.
Heckingbottom’s appointment comes from within the club, which is an option that Sheffield United are probably right to take to steady the ship after a poor start to the season.
It wasn’t working for Jokanovic and Heckingbottom’s style of play is going to be much more suited to the players available in the Sheffield United squad.
He did well last season in the Premier League despite taking over in difficult circumstances, with the playing squad sure to be firmly behind him.
However, there’s an element of risk with Heckingbottom on such a long-term contract. He struggled at Leeds in the full-time job, having left Barnsley stranded in a fight for survival back in 2017/18.
His pedigree isn’t quite in the same league as someone like Jokanovic, who couldn’t get the right tune out of the squad at Sheffield United.
So, it’s going to be interesting to watch this appointment develop.
Thoughts? Let us know!