Buckle 'flattered' by U's link

FORMER Colchester United midfielder Paul Buckle has admitted that he is “flattered” to have been linked with the vacant managerial post at the Community Stadium.

Carl Marston

FORMER Colchester United midfielder Paul Buckle has admitted that he is “flattered” to have been linked with the vacant managerial post at the Community Stadium.

And U's Chief Executive Steve Bradshaw has revealed that Buckle is “the right calibre” of manager that the Essex club are looking for, although he added that the 38-year-old would have to send in an application before the U's could even ask Torquay for permission to speak to him.

Bradshaw said: “If Paul (Buckle) made an application and we felt it right to interview him, then we would contact Torquay United.

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“He is an excellent young manager and just the kind of calibre we are looking for, given his history. But it would need him to apply!”

It is believed that ambitious Torquay boss Buckle, whose contract expires at the end of this season, is in the process of signing an extension to his current deal for another year.

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However, although there has been a verbal agreement between Buckle and the Devon club, nothing had been finalised in writing before last night.

Gulls Chairman, Alex Rowe, said: “Talks about extending Paul's contract here are ongoing, and have been very positive and amicable.”

Buckle's connections as a former U's player, and his resounding success as a manager at Torquay, have made him an obvious contender to succeed Paul Lambert, who resigned at the start of this week to become the new manager of Norwich City.

He was a member of the U's promotion-winning team of 1998, and only last May led his current club Torquay to promotion back to the Football League, via the play-offs.

Buckle admitted yesterday: “I am flattered that I've been linked with a League One club, especially one that I know, just as I knew Torquay United when I came back here.

“But as far as the Colchester job is concerned, there is nothing to talk about.

“I have always tried to do things properly, and I wouldn't comment on a situation like that unless someone came to me with something definite.”

The indications are that Buckle is happy to stay at Plainmoor, but that he might well be tempted away if the Colchester job was offered.

He has been a big success in his two years as manager of Torquay, his first managerial job, with two play-off campaigns. He is also a former team-mate of current U's caretaker boss Joe Dunne at Colchester during the second half of the 1990s.

However, the U's might be reluctant to approach a manager currently in work. They do not have history of this, and would be loathe to pay out much in compensation. Ironically, they are currently in the long process of trying to agree compensation for the loss of Lambert to Norwich - the two clubs are a long way apart at the moment.

There are also many high-profile managers out of work at the moment, headed by former Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd and ex-Reading boss Steve Coppell. The much-travelled Iain Dowie, who is the assistant manager at Newcastle United, could also be a contender.

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