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Extended interview with Blades boss Nigel Adkins

New Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins has played down speculation of a move to bring back former player Billy Sharp.

Sharp has worked under Adkins at three different clubs during his career, most notably Scunthorpe, where he scored more than 50 goals in just two seasons.

However, the new Blades boss was holding his cards very close to his chest during an informal media briefing.

ITV Calendar's Chris Dawkes caught up with him:

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Blades appoint Nigel Adkins on three-year contract

Credit: Press Association

Sheffield United have appointed Nigel Adkins as the club's new manager.

Former Scunthorpe, Southampton and Reading boss Adkins, 50, was unveiled as the Blades' eighth manager in as many years at a press conference at joint club owner Kevin McCabe's London office in Mayfair.

Adkins has signed a three-year contract and replaces Nigel Clough, who was sacked along with his six-man coaching staff nine days ago following the club's Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final defeat to Swindon.

Andy Crosby has been confirmed as assistant manager and Dean Wilkins as first-team coach.

Reports: Blades set to appoint Nigel Adkins

Sheffield United look set to confirm the appointment of Nigel Adkins as their new manager.

Credit: Press Association

The former Scunthorpe United and Southampton manager will replace Nigel Clough, who was sacked by the League One outfit last week.

United had a move for Bradford's Phil Parkinson turned down last Thursday.

Bantams reject Blades bid for Parkinson

Bradford have turned down an approach from Sheffield United to speak to manager Phil Parkinson.

Bantams reject Blades bid for Parkinson Credit: Press Association

The Blades are in the hunt for a new manager after sacking Nigel Clough and his entire backroom team on Monday.

But Bradford are desperate to keep hold of Parkinson, 47, who has a year left to run on his current contract at Valley Parade.

Bradford's joint-chairman Mark Lawn told Press Association Sport: "It's true we've been contacted by Sheffield United.

"They want to speak to Phil, but we've turned their request down. We've made it perfectly clear that we want Phil to stay."

When asked if Bradford's board will open talks with Parkinson over a new deal, Lawn added: "That's up to Phil.

"We'd be happy to do that. He has another year left on his contract and he knows we always look to negotiate new contracts at the end of their terms."

Lawn refused to comment on whether Parkinson had a get-out clause in his deal that the Blades had failed to activate.

"I'm not willing to discuss the finer points of Phil's deal," he added.

Parkinson penned a three-year deal at the end of the 2012/13 season after leading Bradford to the League Cup final and to promotion from Sky Bet League Two.

He guided the club to a seventh-placed finish in League One this season, missing out on the play-offs by four points.

Clough paid the price for the Blades' failure to win promotion via the play-offs as they recently lost out to Swindon in the semi-finals.

The South Yorkshire club, searching for their eighth manager since being relegated from the Premier League in 2007, will embark on a fifth campaign in the third tier next term.

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Blades in search of tenth manager in five years

Sheffield United have parted company with their manager Nigel Clough.

His sacking comes after the Blades failed to gain promotion to the Championship through the League One play-offs having finished fifth in the table.

He is now the 9th manager to leave in the last five years.

Sarah Clark has more.

Promotion failure was end of the road for Clough

Clough took the reins at Bramall Lane in October 2013 with the club in the lower reaches of League One and steered the Blades away from danger and just missed out on the play-offs while also embarking on an FA Cup run which ended in a semi-final defeat to Hull at Wembley.

Promotion failure was end of the road for Clough Credit: Press Association

The onus was on delivering the Blades back to the Championship for the first time since 2011 this season, but it was again in the cup competitions where they excelled, reaching the last four of the League Cup where they suffered a two-legged defeat to Tottenham.

They stuttered into the top six of and were condemned to a fifth season in League One after a 7-6 aggregate defeat in the play-off semi-finals to Swindon, with the second leg, which proved to be Clough's last game in charge, ending 5-5 at the County Ground.

The Blades are now looking for their tenth manager in five years.

The decision may come as a surprise to Clough, whose previous clubs include Derby and Burton, after he declared that not going up was not a failure.

However, he was coy over his future after the Swindon defeat, insisting it was up to other people to decide his fate.

"You need to talk to somebody else about that, that's not my decision is it," he said, "I don't give it a second thought, if it happens it happens, that's part and parcel of football.

"I am manager of Sheffield United today, it's not my decision, it's up to other people.

"I think we have made progress this season, ultimately we haven't achieved our aim, if that progress is not enough then that's up to other people."

Sheffield United sack Clough

Nigel Clough has been sacked as manager of Sheffield United, the club have announced.

Sheffield United sack Clough Credit: Press Association

In a statement the club said:

Sheffield United today announce that Nigel Clough, the Club's First Team Manager, and his Management staff, are to leave Bramall Lane with immediate effect following the decision by the Board that a change in direction was necessary for the forthcoming season.

The search for the Club's new First Team Manager will now start and it is hoped that this will result in identifying and recruiting the right candidate within a relatively short period of time.

The Club would like to place on record its thanks to Nigel, as well as his backroom staff of Gary Crosby, Andy Garner, Martin Taylor, Simon Clough, Michael Forsyth and Matt Brown for their contribution to the Club during their time at Bramall Lane and wish them all well for their future.

– Sheffield United

Five-goal Blades miss out on Wembley final

Substitute Jonathan Obika eventually sent Swindon to Wembley as they edged Sheffield United 7-6 on aggregate after a thrilling 5-5 draw in their League One play-off semi-final second leg.

Credit: Press Association

The Swindon forward stepped off the bench to grab goal eight of 10 but it proved to be crucial as Town held on despite late strikes from Matt Done and Che Adams to book a tie with Preston at the national stadium.

Mark Cooper's side were 3-0 up inside 20 minutes with Ben Gladwin scoring twice before Michael Smith's third.

But an own-goal from Nathan Thompson and Chris Basham's header put the visitors back in the tie only for Smith to grab his second of the night from the spot.

Steven Davies made things interesting again before Obika struck and then, despite two late strikes, Town eventually crept over the line to spark a pitch invasion.

A late winner from Nathan Byrne at Bramall Lane meant the Blades made the trip 2-1 down on aggregate but things could have been more comfortable for Swindon had Gladwin not missed a first-half penalty.

Within five minutes of the second leg, however, the midfielder had rightened the wrongs with a stunning opener. Byrne's deep cross from the right was headed out as far as Gladwin who thumped a half-volley into the top corner.

Byrne's refusal to give up on a lost cause down the right then earned Swindon their second. The full-back kept the ball in on the right touchline and fired a low cross to the back post for Gladwin to gleefully tap home and open up a three-goal cushion.

The home support were then in dreamland with 18 minutes on the clock when Smith robbed Kieran Freeman inside the box, shifted the ball to his right and then fired home.

It was looking like a long journey home for the travelling Blades supporters but they were dreaming again two minutes later when Jamie Murphy's left-footed shot deflected off Thompson and wrong-footed Wes Foderingham .

And having survived Massimo Luongo's run and shot, United narrowed the deficit to just two goals seven minutes before the break when Bob Harris' cross was met by the diving figure of Basham.

Jermaine Hylton had been handed just his fourth start up-front for the Robins and it was his pace that earned Swindon their fourth. Howard was forced to foul the frontman as he dashed past him and strike partner Smith thumped his 58th-minute penalty low into the bottom-left corner.

Yet again the visitors responded, substitute Davies heading home another Harris delivery at the back post just six minutes after his introduction to make it 4-3 on the night.

Goal number eight arrived when substitute Obika, sent on for injured captain Thompson, picked up Luongo's perfectly timed pass, cut inside and buried a low shot across goal.

United were not done just yet, though. First, Done fired past Foderingham from close range with two minutes to go and then substitute Adams cut inside and bent home a curling left-footed shot to set up a nerve-shredding finale.

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