Sheffield United next manager: Alexander Blessin and Paul Heckingbottom head shortlist to replace Chris Wilder

Blades continue search for Chris Wilder’s replacement as they prepare for life in the Championship

Oostende's head coach Alexander Blessin is at the top of Sheffield United's shortlist.

Sheffield United continue to weigh up a move to make Alexander Blessin their new manager.

The KV Oostende coach emerged as the club’s No 1 target to replace Chris Wilder in the hotseat after impressing with his work at the Belgian Pro League outfit.

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United’s pursuit of Blessin, who has transformed Oostende’s fortunes this season with his brand of high-pressing football, hit a snag when it emerged that he does not have the required experience to qualify for a work permit to manage in England.

Sheffield United's interim manager Paul Heckingbottom could be handed the job full time.

However, officials at Bramall Lane continue to investigate if they can launch an appeal in a bid to obtain a Governing Body Endorsement [GBE] for the German coach.

If they are unsuccessful, United may look to appoint current caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom on a permanent contract – even though he has struggled to turn the team’s fortunes around as they fell out of the Premier League.

Blades chief executive Steve Bettis recently confirmed the board of directors have compiled a five-man shortlist to replace Wilder, with Blessin right at the top of it.

However, the German was keen to play down talk he could be on his way to England, preferring to focus on Oostende’s play-off bid.

Oostende's head coach Alexander Blessin has guided the club into the play-offs.

“You shouldn't always believe what is being told,” he added, when asked about the United links. “Sometimes something is right, sometimes it's just rumours.

“The concentration is now completely on the play-offs. And another thing: I am still under contract here for one more year.

“You can burn yourself if you suddenly take a step higher without thinking about it. Why not confirm with Ostend?

The Blades, meanwhile, have still yet to make contact with either Slavisa Jokanovic or his representatives in England and Serbia despite performing due diligence on the former Fulham and Watford boss.

It suggests he does not yet feature on the shortlist of candidates despite being a two time promotion winner from the Championship.

The 52-year-old’s contract with Qatari club Al-Gharafa has expired, but it seems that he isn’t in contention for a move to Bramall Lane despite being favoured by the fanbase.