Mowbray next for Blues top job?

TONY Mowbray has been instantly tipped as the Blues' new manager following Joe Royle's departure.Blues chairman David Sheepshanks last night said: “The process of looking for a new manager has started and we are seeking applicants but I can assure you that we have not approached or spoken to anyone yet.

By Derek Davis

TONY Mowbray has been instantly tipped as the Blues' new manager following Joe Royle's departure.

Blues chairman David Sheepshanks last night said: “The process of looking for a new manager has started and we are seeking applicants but I can assure you that we have not approached or spoken to anyone yet.”

Other names already being bandied about include Phil Parkinson at Colchester, Terry Westley - who was until recently Derby County's caretaker boss - Terry Butcher, Steve Foley, Ian Holloway, Alan Curbishley and Martin O'Neill.

Mowbray, who was player, captain, coach and caretaker manager at Portman Road, is a favourite among many fans and players and after doing an outstanding job at Hibernian, where he took them to third and the UEFA Cup in his first season and fourth this year, is seen as an excellent managerial prospect.

The Hibs boss is also being linked strongly with the job at Middlesbrough, another of his former clubs.

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Mowbray recently spoke of his frustration at working under such financial constraints at the Edinburgh club in the face of unequal competition in the form of the Old Firm Celtic and Rangers, and now new money at Hearts.

If Mowbray is given permission to talk to Middlesbrough or Ipswich, or anyone else, it is likely he will want to take assistant Mark Venus with him, although the former Wolves and Blues defender is keen to strike out on his own in management at some point.

Although the Blues have gone through some bad times in recent years financially, they are starting to see daylight and a rescheduling of the debt and forthcoming share issue has meant money is being made available to strengthen the squad.

That, combined with an already reasonably healthy squad and highly-rated facilities, make managing Ipswich Town a mouth-watering prospect for many a young coach or experienced old manager.

Phil Parkinson has made chairmen to sit up and take notice after leading Colchester United into the Championship but the stumbling block will be their chairman Peter Heard's reluctance to let him go anywhere, and most certainly not Ipswich.

Former Blues captain Butcher told the EADT last year that he would love the chance to manage Ipswich, and take them to victory at Anfield, and he is on the market.

The Motherwell boss has been offered a job with Sydney FC in Australia and Millwall are understood to be keen on him too.

Former QPR boss Holloway has made no secret of his desire to manage Town and almost put his application in while giving a post-match press conference at Portman Road earlier this season.

Westley, who has managed locally in Suffolk and used to work at the Academy, will not be offered the vacant Derby manager's job now that a new consortium is in place and has been offered his old post as Academy director at Pride Park.

Steve Foley has recently left Norwich as Nigel Worthington's assistant and still lives in this area, but may not want to step up to a manager's role.

Former Sunderland and Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy, Celtic and Leicester City manager Martin O'Neill and old Charlton boss Alan Curbishley, are naturally linked to any job going given their previous experiences and assorted successes.

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