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Sep 2010 25

Gary Speed is in the running for a first tilt at management with Sheffield United after the club’s decision to sack Kevin Blackwell.

Blackwell and the Blades agreed to part company within an hour of their 3-0 Championship defeat at home to Queens Park Rangers, which has left them rooted second from bottom of the division.

Chants from the crowd of ‘Blackwell out’ came from all around Bramell Lane after Hogan Ephraim, Jamie Mackie and Adel Taarabt had the visitors well in command inside the opening 23 minutes.

Blackwell picked up a useful 1-1 draw at Cardiff, with rugby odds on the Wales Australia game, and in his opening league game this season but United, who have now drifted out to 25/1 to win the Championship, were then dumped out of the Carling Cup in the first round by Hartlepool.

Speed was among the leading contenders to take over managerial duties at Swansea in the summer, but a deal was blocked by Sheffield United and he will now join assistant manager Sam Ellis in conducting training until a permanent new boss is appointed.

A Sheffield United statement read: “Kevin Blackwell has worked tremendously hard over the last two and a half years and his record in terms of results is equal to, if not better than, most previous managers at Bramall Lane.

“He will always have a warm welcome at Sheffield United.”

Doncaster manager Sean O’Driscoll, Scunthorpe’s Nigel Adkins and Tony Mowbray are others in the frame to take over at Sheffield United.

United could also see their financial position improve over the coming weeks as a deal is reportedly close to being finalised with a Malaysian investor.

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