Magilton in the frame for Colchester job

JIM Magilton has emerged as one of the leading contenders to take over the vacant managerial position at Colchester United.

After Championship club Coventry City yesterday unveiled Aidy Boothroyd as their new manager, the former Ipswich Town boss was installed as one of the early favourites to replace him at ambitious League One side Colchester.

The Northern Irishman, who is still attempting to sue Ipswich over his 2008 dismissal, has been out of work since leaving Championship side Queens Park Rangers last December.

Other candidates with Ipswich connections include George Burley, Steve Foley and Brendan Rodgers.

Former Watford and Reading manager Rodgers has been linked with an assistant manager’s role alongside Roy Keane recently, but has now been installed as the outright favourite for the U’s job.

Burley, who has managed and played for both Ipswich and Colchester, is currently out of work after being sacked by Scotland last November, while cult U’s hero Foley was released from the Ipswich coaching staff at the end of the season.

Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling will start his search for a new manager today and has set a three week time frame to appoint. He expects around 100 applications over the next week, will narrow those down to five or six the following week and, after holding interviews, will eventually announce the club’s seventh manager of the decade.

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With the U’s players away on their close season breaks, Cowling has opted against appointing an interim caretaker manager in the meantime.

Boothroyd only signed a rolling contract on his arrival at the Weston Homes Community Stadium last September and, as a result, Colchester and Coventry were able to quickly agree on a undisclosed compensation figure.

It is yet another bitter managerial departure for Colchester who were left disappointed over the way Paul Lambert left the club for Norwich City at the start of the season. Phil Parkinson also decided in 2006 that, having got the club promoted to the Championship, he would leave for Hull City.

U’s chairman Cowling has no qualms over this latest managerial departure though and remains confident the club can find someone equally good for the job.

He said: “I’m disappointed to have lost a good manager that I think could have taken this club on a bit further, but at the same time I understand some of the reasons why he wanted to take on the job at Coventry. They are a bigger club than us, they play at a higher level and we have to accept that. They are also just 30 minutes from where he lives with his young family.

“We have found at this club that some managers can move forward a little bit faster than the club itself. I believe Colchester United are in a better position now than when Aidy Boothroyd first took over though, so if people can come in and move us on then that’s great.

“The fact that people want our managers says that we have got something right about the selection process here. Perhaps we can look at getting someone who can stay here a little bit longer this time though.

“I’m remaining very open-minded. I’m not setting out to deliberately get a marquee manager and neither am I insistent on getting an unknown. I will appoint whoever I think will be the best man for the job.”

Following his unveiling at the Rioch Arena yesterday afternoon, Boothroyd said: “It wasn’t too difficult a decision because of what this club is and what it can be. I want to be the best I can be as a manager. This is a big club and a big challenge but is one I am very much looking forward to.”

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