Sheffield United continued to remain silent on the future of manager Chris Wilder as the clock ticked towards Sunday’s Premier League trip to Leicester.
Wilder is widely expected to leave his role at Bramall Lane, and the PA news agency understands a statement to confirm the 53-year-old had been relieved of his duties was initially planned for release during Friday afternoon.
However, less than 24 hours ahead of the scheduled 2pm kick-off at the King Power Stadium, there was no official word from Bramall Lane.
The Blades, who are cut adrift at the bottom of the Premier League, cancelled their Friday morning press conference with a player amid reports Wilder was set to be sacked, with the manager scheduled to face journalists via Zoom in the afternoon.
However, that media duty, scheduled for 1.30pm, was then rescheduled to 5pm before the club announced shortly before it was due to take place that it had been cancelled “due to circumstances beyond our control”.
Reports on Saturday evening suggested once Wilder’s exit had been confirmed, Sheffield United would look to make an interim appointment until the end of the season, with former Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall said to be a likely candidate.
Tensions between Wilder and club owner Abdullah Bin Musa’ad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud have heightened recently.
Only last week, Wilder stated he did not know if he would still be in charge next season, despite confirming he wanted to remain at Bramall Lane if the board and owners “stick to the plan”.
According to some reports, there have been clashes with ownership over plans to appoint a director of football, with Prince Abdullah feeling Wilder’s recruitment record has been below par.
Nevertheless, Wilder is viewed as one of the most successful managers in the club’s history and his time in charge will be remembered fondly by Blades supporters for his achievements, despite this season’s disappointment.
After taking charge of his boyhood club in the summer of 2016, Wilder helped the Blades to promotion as League One champions at the first time of asking before winning promotion from the Championship two seasons later, ending the club’s 12-year absence from the top flight.
The Blades were a revelation last season on their return to the Premier League, finishing ninth and maintaining a challenge for European football for the first time in the club’s history right up until the final week of the campaign.
But Wilder’s team have endured a miserable run this season, suffering the ignominy of making the worst ever start to a top-flight season in the history of English football.
The Blades have lost 22 of their 28 Premier League matches and are bottom of the table with only 14 points – 12 points from safety with 10 matches remaining.
However, they have reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where they travel to Chelsea next weekend.