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United begin manager search

Image: Phil Parkinson: Early favourite for Bramall Lane post

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson and Brentford manager Mark Warburton are early favourites to succeed Nigel Clough at Sheffield United.

Clough was sacked on Monday along with his coaches, Gary Crosby and Andy Garner, after 17 months in the job. Former Blades boss Neil Warnock, the last manager to take the club into the top flight, has no interest in a return to Bramall Lane and has urged the board to appoint Clough's assistant Chris Morgan. Warburton will be a free agent this summer when his contract expires having agreed to part company with Brentford, while Parkinson's Bradford fell just short of the Sky Bet League One play-offs. Brentford lost out to Middlesbrough in the Championship play-offs earlier this month, with Warburton maintaining the London club's momentum after winning automatic promotion with them last season. Parkinson has a year to run on the three-year deal he signed at the end of the 2012/13 season after leading Bradford to the League Cup final and to promotion from League Two. Former Scunthorpe, Southampton and Reading manager Nigel Adkins is high on the bookmakers' lists, with Darren Ferguson and Gus Poyet also linked with the vacancy. Clough, whose previous managerial roles were at Burton and Derby, steered the Blades clear of a relegation fight and a seventh-placed finish at the end of his first season and guided them to fifth place this time round in Sky Bet League One. But the Blades failed to make it past Swindon in the semi-finals of the play-offs and the board decided to embark on a fifth season in the third tier with a new manager. The club's new manager will be its eighth since being relegated from the Premier League in 2007 and third since Kevin McCabe sold a 50 per cent stake to Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, now joint owner and co-chairman, in September 2013.

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