Chris Wilder built strong relationships with the Sheffield United squad – and that has made things “really difficult” for Paul Heckingbottom.
That is according to ex-Blades goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Heckingbottom hinted he may not stay on as manager next term.
Speaking after United’s 1-0 win over Burnley on the final day of the season, the 43-year-old interim boss told BBC Radio Sheffield: “I didn’t come here to be a manager.”
Heckingbottom oversaw a small turnaround in results towards the end of the campaign, masterminding three wins in the Blades’ last six matches.
Wilder departed by mutual consent in March after United lost 22 of their opening 28 Premier League fixtures.
But Kenny asserts that his shadow still looms large over Bramall Lane, claiming that has made things harder for Heckingbottom.
He told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams: “Lots of those players had close relationships with Wilder.
“Now he’s gone and Heckingbottom has had to step in. He’s done reasonably well in those circumstances. I think it’s been hard for him.
“He’s still got the same set of players and he’s managed to get a couple of wins out of them.
“There have been some results where they’ve been unlucky and he’s done well. But I’d be surprised if he got the job full-time.
“I know he’s managed at Championship level before but for me, they need someone with more experience in getting promotion.
“It’s really difficult because of Wilder and what he did before. Heckingbottom’s working with a set of players who are low on confidence.”
Football Insider understands Wilder is the leading candidate for the West Brom job.