Trio of long-time staff leave Sheffield United after Wilder exit
Written by Training Ground Guru — March 30, 2021
SHEFFIELD UNITED have announced the departure of a trio of backroom staff following the exit of manager Chris Wilder three weeks ago.
First-team coach and Head of Sport Science Matt Prestridge, goalkeeper coach Darren Ward and performance analyst Mike Allen have all left the club. In a three-line statement, Sheffield United said: "The Board thank them for their hard work and wish them well for the future."
Between them, the trio have worked for Sheffield United for more than 25 years and the club now faces a huge rebuilding job in the summer.
Prestridge, who was unique in the Premier League in terms of combining the roles of both first-team coach and Head of Sport Science, joined Wilder at Bramall Lane in May 2016, having previously worked with him at Northampton.
Ward was already at the club when Wilder arrived but was highly rated by the manager and his players. In 2019, England goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who was on loan at the club from Manchester United, paid tribute to the coach.
“Wardy has been outstanding,” he said, "the best goalkeeping coach I've ever worked with. He's brought me on leaps and bounds in every aspect of the game - mentally, physically, tactically - and the sessions are brilliant.
“I look forward to coming into work every day, and long may that continue. If I could work with Wardy for the next couple of years, I really think I can elevate to one of the best goalkeepers in the world.”
Allen was one of the longest-serving members of staff at Sheffield United, having joined them in 2004, and his role entailed opposition, post-match, recruitment and data analysis.
Paul Heckingbottom is in caretaker charge of the team, having been parachuted in from the U23s following Wilder’s exit. He is assisted by Alan Knill, Wilder’s long-time assistant, who recently rejected a Head of Football role at the club; former Bournemouth boss Jason Tindall; and goalkeeper coach Matt Duke, who has been brought in from the U21s.
Darren Currie, the nephew of Blades legend Tony Currie, and Graham Coughlan, the former Bristol Rovers and Mansfield Town manager, have been put in charge of the U23s to the end of the season.