Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton is one of the contenders to take over from Chris Wilder at Premier League strugglers Sheffield United, The Star reports. 

Speaking to Sky Sports last week, chief executive Stephen Bettis confirmed the Blades had whittled their managerial shortlist down to five. 

One of those, Bettis said, was interim boss Paul Heckingbottom.

We can assume two other places are being occupied by Slavisa Jokanovic and Alexander Blessin, even though Brexit regulations appear to have scuppered any hopes Sheffield United may have had of luring the KV Oostende boss to the Steel City (Athletic).

Mino Raiola XI vs Jorge Mendes XI: Who Wins?!

Mino Raiola XI vs Jorge Mendes XI: Who Wins?!

The Star, meanwhile, suggests Appleton is also in contention. 

The former Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and Oxford United boss, who also worked as an assistant coach at Leicester City, is reported to have an admirer or two behind the scenes at Bramall Lane, although it isn’t certain how serious a candidate he really is. 

Appleton’s best work has come in the lower leagues. 

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But, after guiding Oxford to promotion from the fourth tier and turning Lincoln into a League One force, the one-time Manchester United youngster surely deserves a chance to prove his worth at Championship level. 

That, after all, is where Sheffield United will be plying their trade in 2021/22 having been relegated from the Premier League a fortnight ago. 

Appleton, Heckingbottom, Blessin, Jokanovic – if we assume they are four of Bettis’s candidates, the mystery fifth option remains shrouded in secrecy. 

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