Ipswich Town manager search – the verdict on 22 names in the frame
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Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans says he is going to take a ’calculated risk’ when appointing the club’s next manager. STUART WATSON looks at the names in the frame.
Immediately installed as the bookies’ favourite after being sacked by Sunderland, who are all set for a takeover, on Sunday. The 47-year-old failed to prevent the Black Cats suffering back-to-back relegations into League One after taking over last November (W5 D8 L16). It was only two years ago he guided his native Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and was deemed hot property. Previously in charge of Fulham, Real Sociedad, Coventry and Greek side Larissa. He and assistant boss Kit Symons have worked closely with Town coach Geraint Williams in the past.
Verdict: Latest bookies’ favourite (9/4)
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The ‘Flying Finn’ was a cult hero at Portman Road during the early ‘00s with his not-stop-running and swallow dive celebrations. Shouldn’t be dismissed as an option based purely on his mixed fortunes as a manager in his native Finland alongside ex-Town strike partner Pablo Coungo. The 41-year-old has plenty of good connections in the game and assembled an exciting support team.
Verdict: Would have to wow at interview (3/1)
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Took over a Shrewsbury side that were bottom of League One just 18 months ago and has now has them preparing for the play-offs after pushing bigger budget Wigan and Blackburn all the way for automatic promotion. Got that gig after taking Grimsby back into the Football League with a Play-Off Final win in 2015/16. The 43-year-old hails from Sheffield and made more than 400 appearances for Rotherham as a left-back.
Verdict: Town very much interested (4/1)
The Liverpudlian, 51, could be about to seal the League One title with Wigan following League Two title triumphs with Portsmouth (2016/17) and Chesterfield (2013/14). He’s closing in on 600 games as a manager, having formerly been at Southport, Sligo Rovers and Accrington Stanley, and has a 45% win rate. Set to meet Latics owners to talk Championship budget soon.
Verdict: Shown he will leave a promoted side (7/1)
The 73-cap England international declared himself one of ‘the greatest minds in football’ after being over-looked for the Oxford job back in February. Has limited coaching experience with Trinidad & Tobago and QPR. Was pictured speaking to Blues managing director Ian Milne at Fulham back in January. ‘Rooney Rule’ agreement means clubs will interview at least one black, Asian and minority ethnic candidate.
Verdict: Set for interview (10/1)
Has just guided Blackburn Rovers back into the Championship at the first time of asking – but would the opportunity to return to Town, where he was a popular former player, coach and caretaker manager, tug at the heart strings? Along with assistant and fellow ex-Blue Mark Venus he’d get the DNA of the club and connect with fans. Seems to have a good working relationship with the Venkys though, while his family are based in his native Middlesbrough.
Verdict: Unlikely to jump ship (11/1)
He and his brother/assistant Nicky – the Essex boys who were school teachers not so long ago – have had a remarkable journey of success with Concord Rangers, Braintree Town and Lincoln City. All set to take the Imps into the League Two play-offs just a year after promotion back into the Football League. Won the Checkatrade Trophy Final at Wembley with an underdog win against Shrewsbury. Just signed contract extensions until 2021, say they want to master each level as they go, but family are based down south.
Verdict: Don’t rule out just yet (12/1)
Ex-England midfielder is working as a pundit while studying for his UEFA A Licence. Has impressed while helping out with coaching at Chelsea’s academy. Could be recommended by, or even work with, his uncle Harry Redknapp.
Verdict: Big name may tempt Evans (12/1)
Dutchman is set to move on to bigger things after small budget success with VVV Venlo. Topped our fans’ poll, claiming 30% of more than 5,000 votes. Heavily linked to Heerenveen so Town would need to move quick.
Verdict: No contact yet (14/1)
The 41-year-old Scot has turned Scottish Championship side St Mirren from relegation-battlers to runaway title winners in just 18 months. Clearly ambitious.
Verdict: Outside chance (14/1)
Sacked by West Brom towards the end of a tumultuous campaign which will end in relegation from the Premier League. Doesn’t appear to fit with Evans saying he is looking to ‘do something different’.
Verdict: Unlikely (14/1)
Has been out of work since being sacked by Nottingham Forest at the start of this year. The 55-year-old had success at Brentford and Rangers before that. A former London trader, he could speak Marcus Evans’ language. Has a track record of playing entertaining football and developing youth.
Verdict: A compromise option (16/1)
Another ex-England player linked. Currently coaching Tottenham’s Under-18s and could be recommended by David Pleat, one of Evans’ key advisers.
Verdict: Possibility (18/1)
Unknown Englishman has had international success with minnows British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Guam and Taiwan. Came close to getting England U21 job last year and highly-rated by FA. Interview about Town has captured imagination.
Verdict: May be deemed too leftfield (20/1)
Has taken Bristol Rovers from the National League to the middle of the League One table in five years, reinventing sides along the way as key men were sold. The 40-year-old would come with the added bonus of Blues legend Marcus Stewart being his assistant. Four years left on contract.
Verdict: Compensation could be issue (25/1)
Welshman has got Luton promoted from League Two with a swashbuckling brand of football. Mick McCarthy has been full of praise for the 44-year-old and could recommend him to Evans. Signed a new four-year deal in January.
Verdict: Compensation could be issue (28/1)
Has worked minor miracles as Burton boss and goes into final game with a shot at survival. If they are relegated this time around he may feel it’s time to move on after much loyalty.
Verdict: Likely to be sounded out (28/1)
Liverpool legend was heavily linked to Town but now looks set to take the Rangers job.
Verdict: Unlikely (33/1)
Loved his time on loan at Town in 2005 and understood to see club as perfect platform to launch his managerial career. Led Everton’s Under-23s to the title and was caretaker boss of the Toffees in between Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce earlier this season.
Verdict: No contact (33/1)
Former Manchester United, Lazio and AC Milan colossus was sacked by Reading last month less than a year after a third-place Championship finish and Play-Off Final defeat on penalties. Dutchman has unwavering passing principles.
Verdict: May get an interview (33/1)
Has watched three Ipswich games since the announcement of Mick McCarthy’s departure. Contracted to Republic of Ireland until Euro 2020 though and was only scouting.
Verdict: Unlikely (33/1)
Ipswich job would appeal to the out of work ex-England manager. To go from a top man-manager in McCarthy to someone whose forte is coaching may be too big a leap.
Verdict: Unlikely (25/1)
* Odds based on those supplied by SkyBet at time of print