Butcher first to show his hand

IPSWICH Town have had preliminary talks with former Blues skipper Terry Butcher about the vacant manager's job at Portman Road.

IPSWICH Town have had preliminary talks with former Blues skipper Terry Butcher about the vacant manager's job at Portman Road, writes Derek Davis.

Butcher has already been offered the manager's job at Sydney FC in Australia but once he heard Joe Royle had left, he instructed his agent Graham Rankin to contact Town.

Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks then spoke with Butcher's representative to assess the Motherwell manager's situation.

Butcher has been given until Monday by Sydney FC to give an answer on the £360,000-a-year job in Australia, while Town are looking to secure a new manager before the players return for pre-season training on June 26.

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Former England and Town captain Butcher made it clear earlier this season that he would love to manage Ipswich one day and was a guest of the chairman when visiting the area to promote his autobiography.

Sheepshanks last night refused to discuss anyone who had applied for the job and admitted Town had not yet asked permission to speak to any managers currently in work, but would be doing so.

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He said: “The phone has been red hot with applicants, either in person or via agents.

“I'm extremely encouraged by the response and interest which would suggest we will have a very high calibre of applicants to choose from.

“It would be unfair to talk about any individual but at this stage I'm not ruling anyone in or ruling anyone out.”

Motherwell would probably seek around £40,000 compensation for Butcher.

Hibs boss Tony Mowbray remains the favourite for the vacancy though, although Town would have to pay around £150,000 in compensation to the Scottish Premier League club.

Colchester United boss Phil Parkinson is also high on the list but it is unlikely he would even be given permission to talk to Town.

Willie Donachie, who has accepted the position of caretaker-manager, has also shown an interest in stepping into Royle's shoes.

Sheepshanks said: “I have spoken to Willie and he has offered to help in any way he can. He has said he would like to apply and we welcome internal application as well as external.”

Canada's national boss Frank Yallop has also entered the frame, while Luton Town's Mike Newell is another contender.

The Blues are likely to draw up a short-list before the middle of next week and make contact with possible candidates a few days after that.

Kevin Baggott, manager of the Saxmundham branch of Raceway Sports Betting Ltd, expects a great deal of interest in the market.

He said: “Town have just had a pretty poor season and the fans need a bit of a boost and this could be it. I think the interesting one could be Mike Newell. He's at Luton at the moment but maybe a change to Ipswich could suit him.

“We're expecting a lot of people to have a bet. If people want to come in and have a chat about it we'd be happy to see them.”

Meanwhile, former Blues boss Joe Royle will not be taking over at Derby County. Royle is not on the three-man short list and was never in contention for the job.

Royle was approached by Mike Horton, who is part of the consortium that has now taken over at Pride Park, but only to ask his opinion on who he thought would be a good manager for the Rams.

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