Sheffield United ready to install Speed as manager

Sheffield United are poised to unveil Gary Speed as the club's new permanent manager. United parted company with Kevin Blackwell after Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to QPR and Speed, who has been working as first-team coach, will be handed his first job as manager.

The 40-year-old is understood to have met with club chairman Kevin McCabe and chief executive Trevor Birch in Spain, where he was offered the role. Speed, a former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton midfielder, who held the record of most Premier League appearances, 535, before being overtaken by David James and Ryan Giggs, joined the Blades initially as a player for £250,000 from Bolton in January, 2008.

Speed made 38 appearances for United, but his playing days were curtailed by a persistent back injury and he focused on his coaching duties towards the end of 2009.

Swansea were keen for Speed to replace Paulo Sousa as manager earlier this summer, but the Welsh club were refused permission to speak to him by the Blades, for whom the former Wales international is still registered as a player.

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