Paul Heckingbottom reveals he is still in regular contact with sacked Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder even though the former Leeds and Hibernian manager replaced the popular Blades coach at Bramall Lane
- Chris Wilder was sacked as Sheffield United boss last month after poor form
- Blades interim boss Paul Heckingbottom has revealed he still speaks to Wilder
- Wilder brought in Heckingbottom last summer initially as a youth coach
- Heckingbottom has backed Wilder to make a swift return to management soon
Chris Wilder is still in regular contact with the man who replaced him as manager of Sheffield United.
Wilder has kept in touch with Paul Heckingbottom in the four weeks since his successful five-year reign at Bramall Lane was brought to an abrupt halt after the breakdown in his relationship with Blades owner Prince Abdullah.
The 53-year-old brought in Heckingbottom last summer to oversee the club’s Under-23s, and has remained a mentor since the former Leeds and Hibernian boss took caretaker charge following his departure from the Premier League’s bottom side last month March.
Paul Heckingbottom says he is still in contact with Sheffield United predecessor Chris Wilder
Wilder left Bramall Lane last month with the Blades bottom of the table and facing relegation
‘We’ve spoken a few times,’ revealed Heckingbottom, whose side host Arsenal on Sunday looking to eat into the 15-point gap to safety in their unlikely bid to beat the drop.
He added: ‘We can still keep that friendship. It’s difficult because I’ve been in his shoes and I know what that’s like, it’s difficult because I came here to work for him and we couldn’t get that relationship as we wanted because of the Covid restrictions, but moving forward nothing changes.
‘Obviously I won’t go into what we chat about, but we continue to speak and our conversations will evolve as things go on regardless of Chris’ next job, or my next job.
Heckingbottom was brought in by Wilder last summer as a youth coach but is now interim boss
‘Everyone knows we were friends before I came to the club and he played a big part in me coming here.’
Heckingbottom tipped Wilder to return to the dugout sooner rather than later.
Given the miracles he performed in leading the club from League One to an impressive top-half Premier League finish last season, the lifelong Blade is unlikely to go long without tempting offers.
Heckingbottom has backed Wilder (above) to make a swift return to management soon
The 43-year-old added: ‘Chris will be back in management very soon, no doubt about it.
‘That’s not me giving anything away from a conversation that I’ve had with him, but he’s too good a manager, with too good a record.
‘It will be more a case of when he’s ready to come back, then he’ll come back.’