Can new boss Wilder sharpen up Blades?

Can new boss Wilder sharpen up Blades?

It was hardly a surprise when Paul Heckingbottom became the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season when Sheffield United decided that enough was enough.

The writing had been on the wall for some time but the 5-0 hammering by fellow strugglers Burnley last Saturday sealed his fate.

The result left the club bottom of the league on four points having won just one game.

Apart from the scoreline, the manner of defeat and body language of the players suggested Heckingbottom had lost the dressing room.

Despite the circumstances, Heckingbottom, who won automatic promotion to the top flight with the Blades, left on good terms saying he was departing with "many great memories created by many great people."

The Blades were swift to announce that Chis Wilder, a former manager at the club and a long-time favourite with the fans at Bramall Lane, would be stepping into the hot seat.

Making it even hotter was the fact that his first opponents on Wednesday night were Liverpool.

Despite the Reds being far from their best Juergen Klopp's side proved too strong for the hosts coming out 2-0 winners.

However, the Blades put on a spirited display and were nothing like the sorry squad that crumbled so easily against Burnley.

The result was hardly unexpected and Wilder will take heart from the effort put in by his team who remain in bottom place with 12 defeats in 15 games.

The returning manager received a tremendous reception from the fired-up Bramall Lane crowd who chanted "he's one of our own" and cheered every move by their team.

Wilder was also impressed by the crowd's support. "The reception they gave me was incredible," he said.

Wilder probably knows the club better than anybody as he also played for them from 1986-92.

When he became manager in 2016 after successful spells with Oxford United and Northampton Town, he soon proved popular with the fans.

Wilder repaid their faith by winning promotion for the Blades after six long years in League One.

Another two seasons later, he had somehow taken them to the Premier League.

When he was controversially sacked, there was considerable acrimony between Wilder and the owner, Prince Abdullah.

But that seems to have been resolved. Wilder said this week his relationship with the owner and the board was "repaired a long time ago."

For his part, Prince Abdullah has thrown his full support behind Wilder saying he was "the best guy on Planet Earth to take over the club right now."

It will be interesting to see how Wilder's "second coming" pans out.

The past week also saw two high-profile managerial departures in the Championship with Tony Mowbray being fired by Sunderland and Michael Duff axed at struggling Swansea City.

The biggest surprise was the ousting of Mowbray who had led Sunderland to sixth place last season before being knocked out in the play-offs by Luton.

Sunderland had started promisingly this season but had only won two of their last nine matches.

Even so, they are in ninth place only three points away from a play-off spot.

Mowbray's sacking has not gone down well with fans of the Black Cats.

The Yorkshireman was a popular figure at the Stadium of Light and many refer to his sacking as a "knee-jerk decision."

One fan wrote: "Stupid decision. The fans and players love him."

Mowbray had been at the club for 462 days since taking over from Alex Neil in August last year.

Duff's departure was less surprising following no wins in their last five matches which left the Welsh club in an unhealthy 18th place.

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