Play-off fears force out Wilson as Leeds line up McDermott

Sheffield United have sacked  Danny Wilson
Sheffield United have sacked Danny Wilson
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Sheffield United confirmed last night that manager Danny Wilson and his assistant Frank Barlow have left the League One club.

Shortly afterwards, 40 miles up the M1 at Elland Road it appeared that former Reading chief Brian McDermott was set to become Neil Warnock’s successor at Leeds United.

Speculation about the future of Bramall Lane boss Wilson surfaced yesterday afternoon.

A poor run of just one victory in six games has severely dented the Blades’ hopes of claiming an automatic promotion place.

Now first-team coach and former captain Chris Morgan is tasked with trying to ensure they avoid the play-offs, starting at home against Swindon Town on Saturday.

Blades owner Kevin McCabe commented: “We must thank Danny and Frank for all their endeavours and hard work over the past two seasons. We now have a mini season for this club to achieve success and we will all back Chris in this mission.”

Some sources suggested Wilson, 53, decided to resign, others stated that he had been sacked.

What is certain is that the club lie fifth in League One and look
increasingly likely to finish the season in the play-offs for the second successive campaign.

Sections of the Bramall Lane support had made their feelings known following the final whistle of Tuesday’s 2-0 home loss to Crawley Town, calling for Wilson to be dismissed.

The result saw United blow the chance to move within three points of second-placed Bournemouth – with two games in hand – and extended their dismal streak on home soil.

They have triumphed just once in seven games this calendar year in Sheffield while not scoring at Bramall Lane in six hours’ play.

The Blades must now win most, if not all, of their remaining five games to maintain hopes of avoiding the dreaded play-offs.

Disquiet had been growing among Blades fans following a run of six victories in 17 league matches since Boxing Day.

The appointment of the former Sheffield Wednesday manager and midfielder Wilson was a hugely controversial one back in May 2011. The announcement was the prelude to much anger among the Blades’ faithful and a demonstration was held by several hundred in the club car park when he was unveiled.

But gradually, Wilson – who has also managed Barnsley, Bristol City, MK Dons, Hartlepool and Swindon – won over Unitedities and earned their respect.

The Blades suffered the heartache of missing out on a top-two place in League One at the end of last term when they were pipped by city rivals Wednesday. Their despair was compounded when they lost 8-7 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town in the League One play-off final at Wembley.

Meanwhile, betting on Leeds’s next boss was suspended late last night amid intense speculation that McDermott had won the fight to replace Warnock.

The former Reading manager is understood to have been interviewed by Leeds last week after featuring on their shortlist of candidates.

Misery at the Lane: Page 22.