Who will be Coventry City’s next manager?

Coventry City are looking for a new manager again this season after Mark Robins decided to leave for Huddersfield Town.

Robins has improved Coventry a lot from when he took over and now it does seem like a good club to join again as they are in the battle for the playoffs and could get promoted this year, which didn’t look likely at all when he first took charge. Lee Carsley has been named as the caretaker manager and he will try his best to stake his claim for the job if he wants it permanently. What is quite worrying though is that the club are now looking for their 12th manager in a number of years. I am slightly surprised that Robins decided to leave but to be fair to him he is getting another chance to be successful in the Championship. However, he was building something at Coventry and there was certainly more of a feel good fact around the club after many years of disappointment and failure. He was only in charge for 33 matches but he did win 17 of those and only lost seven league games in total. So who can carry on his good work or at least bring a bit of continuity to the club?

The favourite for the job is current Falkirk manager Steven Pressley. This to me is quite a strange one as he hasn’t been able to get Falkirk promoted back to the SPL yet and has only been a manager since 2010 so he doesn’t quite have the experience yet. Falkirk are currently fifth in the First Division of Scotland and there isn’t a chance of them getting promoted again this year. But he does work with a lot of young players and there isn’t a lot of money at the club so his 41.35% win record isn’t too bad.

Second favourite and possibly a better appointment is Phil Brown. Throughout his managerial career he has been slightly hit and miss but he does still have experience in the higher leagues and could use this to his advantage. However, his last spell in management at Preston North End didn’t go too well and he struggled to get them competing at the top of the table which was expected so he may not be able to do it at Coventry. But, he does deserve another chance in my opinion and could get the club back into the Championship.

Finally, another inexperienced manager has been linked to the post and that is former Coventry player Andy Morrell. He played 111 times for the club scoring 19 goals so he will obviously want to impress the fans once again. Even though he is inexperienced he does have a fantastic record as a manager so far at Wrexham winning 48 of his 81 games and guiding the club to second in the Conference Premier. The only problem is that he may not be able to make the jump up to League 1 and he may need time but this might not be given.

Others linked with the role are Eric Black, Peter Houston and Richard Money.

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Who will be Preston North End’s new manager?

Preston North End are looking for a new manager after Graham Westley was sacked and are hoping that a new manager can improve results.

The club are currently 17th in League 1 only five points above the relegation zone but more worrying for the board and everyone involved with Preston is the fact they have only won one league game since November. The club were hoping for more stability, but this hasn’t happened and it is now the fourth season in a row that they are searching for a new manager. Westley was given a lot by the board because in the summer he was allowed to bring in a completely new squad so he cannot use the excuse that they weren’t the players that he wanted at the club. I expected a lot more from both Preston and Westley this season and am surprised that they are towards the bottom of the league. Westley was in charge for 62 games but could only manage 16 wins leaving him with a win percentage of 25.81% and after his time at Stevenage he probably thought he could get this team back in the Championship. So who will take the job and guide them to at least safety this season?

The favourite for the job is currently Simon Grayson, who has been very successful in League 1 in the past, guiding Blackpool, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town to promotion from the division. He would be a great appointment and even though Huddersfield were on a bad run, I believe he would have kept them in the Championship this season. Unfortunately though for Grayson it does look like he has to drop down into League 1 to get another job as I can’t see many Championship teams giving him a chance yet.

A surprising manager that is linked with the job and is one of the early favourites is Gareth Ainsworth. He is currently player manager at Wycombe Wanderers and even though he does have a decent record of only losing 10 of his 27 games in charge, surely that is not yet good enough to make the jump to a higher division with a team that wants to get promoted. I do like Ainsworth and would want to see him get a chance but I just don’t think he would be the right appointment at the moment. However, he is a former player and had one of his best seasons as a player at the club, getting 11 goals in 38 league games during the 1993-94 season.

Finally, Owen Coyle has been linked with the job and this would be an interesting one because he failed to get Bolton Wanderers back to the Premier League and will have to rebuild his reputation slightly and Preston could be the perfect club for him. It is just a question of whether a manager with Premier League experience with two clubs wants to drop down to League 1.

Others linked with the job are Steven Pressley, Paul Dickov and Gary Megson

Who will be Huddersfield Town’s next manager?

Huddersfield are looking for a new manager after Simon Grayson was sacked and the board are hoping that the new man will secure Championship football again.

Huddersfield Town
Grayson may feel this decision was a little harsh but they have been struggling lately and a 4-0 defeat against Watford was the last straw. It may be a good time to look for a new manager as it is FA Cup weekend and they have no realistic chance of winning the competition so the result against Leicester City does not really matter and I am sure any Huddersfield fan would rather go out at this stage and stay in the Championship than go through and end up getting relegated. Huddersfield are seven points out of relegation but with those teams at the bottom picking up points now and themselves not winning for 12 games they definitely need a change somewhere, maybe the board should have kept faith with the man that got them promoted but 12 games without a win is a very long time, especially in the Championship. Grayson was in charge for 49 games, winning 17 of those and losing 17 so it is fair to say that he did a decent enough job and personally I think he would have turned it around and kept the club up.

But looking at the candidates for the job and the board clearly feel that another manager can do a better job and give them more of a chance of staying up. The current favourite is recently sacked Nigel Adkins who was harshly replaced at Southampton and may want to get back into football as soon as possible. His record speaks for itself and he has been a success everywhere he has been. He got promoted with Southampton last season and was doing an ok job in the Premier League and this would be a great appointment for Huddersfield, if he doesn’t want to take a break from football.

Nigel Adkins

Maybe a more realistic appointment would be Owen Coyle, who has also been sacked this season by Bolton Wanderers. He largely underachieved at the Reebok after such a promising start where he took them to an FA Cup semi final. Would he be a good choice for Huddersfield though? In my opinion, yes he would be a good choice because there would be less pressure and maybe the problem at Bolton in the Championship was the fact that they were favourites for practically every game. He tries to play football in the right way and I would like to see him get another chance in the Championship to prove some of his doubters wrong.

Owen Coyle

Finally, a little bit more of a wildcard option would be Paolo Di Canio who has done a good job in charge of Swindon Town and won promotion from League 2 last season with them. With a 58.24% win record he is proving that he can get results on the pitch, however he has been criticised a few times and some of his antics on the touchline has been controversial to say the least. But, he does have a lot of passion and maybe this is exactly what Huddersfield need.

Paolo Di Canio

Others in the frame are Aidy Boothroyd, Billy Davies and Gareth Southgate.

Who will be the Championship’s top scorer?

Kevin Doyle may not have scored enough goals to keep Wolves in the Premier League but he will be hoping to fire them back there. The last time he played in the Championship he scored 18 goals in 42 games which is a very good record and if he can replicate that sort of form then he will surely come close to being top goal scorer. In my opinion he owes Wolves as he has only scored 21 goals in 102 games and that has not been good enough and only scoring 4 of them in the league last season is one of the reasons they got relegated.

New Cardiff City signing Heidar Helguson will also be hoping to score a lot of goals in the coming season and at least get them into the playoffs. Helguson is probably slightly frustrated that he is not still in the Premier League as he scored nine times in just 16 games for QPR last season. However, he is 34 now and his best years may be past him and the last time he was in the Championship he only scored 13 goals in 34 games. I think he will be vital to Cardiff this year but will only be an outsider for the Golden Boot trophy.

Jermaine Beckford may have only got nine league goals last year but I think he could get a lot more this season with Leicester possibly pushing for an automatic promotion place. Last season was his first full one in the Championship but he has had a full season in the Premier League so maybe he should have performed slightly better but now he has a good understanding with strike partner David Nugent he could score the same amount of goals he did in League 1.

Huddersfield Town star man Jordan Rhodes has to be a consideration because in my opinion with the way that he plays the game he will score goals at all levels. He has fantastic movement and scores all types of goals which will mean he will be a marked man but if he is given the service he will put away his chances. There are rumours that he could be leaving for Blackburn Rovers and this would only help him to score more goals but even if he stays at Huddersfield I expect him to get over 15 goals.

Finally, Craig Bellamy has to be considered an outsider because he has proved he can score goals in this division in his previous spell on loan at Cardiff City. He will be doing all he can to get his hometown club promoted and what better way to do it than score the most goals in the division. The 33 year old has never reached 20 goals but this could be the year that he does it and he will no doubt prove to be a fantastic signing but if he can add the goals to his game then he will be the signing of the season.

Who will win League 1?

Sheffield United unfortunately lost the playoff final last year on penalties against Huddersfield Town and are now facing a second season in League 1. But the team from Yorkshire are the favourites to win promotion and this is a very real possibility as they should really have gone up automatically last year but were just beaten to second place by neighbours Sheffield Wednesday. However, they were beaten yet again on penalties by Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup which will have surely damaged a bit of confidence in the camp. So far they have largely kept the same team as last year so will be very competitive and are rightly the favourites.

 

The nearly men of the division MK Dons will be hoping that this is their year and definitely won’t want to go through playoff heartache again. The play the best football in the league and love to pass the ball and Karl Robinson has to be given a lot of credit for that but at times they do seem to lack another option which cost them at times. The signing of Ryan Lowe could be crucial as he is a very good finisher and even though things didn’t quite go right for him at Sheffield Wednesday, I think he will suit his new clubs style of play.

Newly promoted Swindon Town are also considered one of the leading clubs in the division this year and with Paolo Di Canio in charge anything can happen there as he always demands the best from his players and his methods even though they can be slightly unorthodox seem to be doing the trick. The signing of James Collins and Andy Williams could prove to be a stroke of genius as they were brilliant defensively last year but didn’t have that striker to get 20 goals which they will need to get promoted from this league.

Bournemouth under Paul Groves could be considered contenders because they have a decent squad but I am still slightly surprised that so many teams are backing them because they don’t have a striker that has really scored a lot of goals in League 1 and their top scorer last year was Marc Pugh who got 12 goals. The team maybe didn’t quite live up to their chairman’s expectations last year so he will be wanting to see an improvement this time around.

Relegated Coventry City seem to have the best chance of all the teams that came down from the Championship last year to return at the first time of asking and this is definitely a make or break season for manager Andy Thorn who had to work with a lot of young players last year. Maybe they were always doomed because of this but Thorn definitely needs to put up a challenge if he wants to keep his job. They have signed a few decent players this summer, some with experience in Kevin Kilbane and others that had been tipped for big things like John Fleck so if they can get the right blend then the good times could return.

Who will be relegated from League 1?

League 1 may not have the likes of Charlton Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday or Huddersfield Town anymore but there are still some big teams with big budgets in the division and this makes it very hard for the promoted teams and those with lower budgets to have a good season.

But it is definitely one of the relegated teams from the Championship that are the favourites to go down. Portsmouth are in a lot of trouble and are barely still alive as a club never mind one that is in the third tier of English football. Who knows what their starting 11 will be at the start of the season and how many of them have any experience whatsoever. Manager Michael Appleton has the potential to be a good manager and will obviously come out of this with credit but he is fighting a losing battle.

Next are a team that have just been promoted to the league and that is Shrewsbury Town who have had an interesting summer with a few key players departing in particular one of their strikers James Collins who may have scored the goals to keep them up. So they will have to hope that Marvin Morgan, Terry Gornell and Ryan Doble can do the business in League 1. They have possibly their toughest fixture of the season first which is Sheffield United away so at least that will be out of the way early.

Walsall have been in League 1 for a number of years now and seem to be one of the clubs that will always finish towards the bottom half of the table but avoid relegation and it could be the same yet again. Their top two scorers from last years, Jon Macken and Alex Nicholls have left the club and they weren’t exactly prolific themselves so it is easy to see where they need improving and hopefully their 1-0 win over Brentford in the Capital One Cup will give them the confidence to go on and compete for a place higher up in the table.

Yeovil are another club that seemed to be struggling at the moment and may have a long season in front of them especially as they have lost their main man from last year, Andy Williams, who scored 16 goals in 35 league games but decided to join league newcomers Swindon Town. They have brought in James Hayter and Reuben Reid who I think can score goals at this level so if they remain solid at the back it will be another season in League 1 for them.

A surprising team that are tipped for relegation are Carlisle United because at times last year they looked good and were playing some decent stuff under Greg Abbott but they are another team that has lost one of their better players in Francois Zoko. They still look like they have a good enough side though and should be considered an outside tip for promotion through the playoffs because they have Frank Simek, Jon-Paul McGovern, Matty Robson and Lee Miller (if he can stay fit).

Four teams get relegated from League 1 so obviously there are more contenders but I see these with the exception of Carlisle to be the ones that struggle the most and are in a relegation battle come the end of the season.

Who will be the next Birmingham City manager?

Birmingham City are looking for a new manager after Chris Hughton decided to leave for Norwich City and will be hoping the new man can guide them back to the Premier League.

Birmingham City finished fourth under Chris Hughton

First of all Hughton did a fantastic job at Birmingham and should be remembered fondly by their fans as he got them into the group stages of the Europa League and into the playoffs. This is remarkable seen as though they lost a lot of players last summer and he had to rebuild basically a whole new squad. He only lost 15 of his 62 games in charge but unfortunately they could not overcome Blackpool in the playoff semi finals losing 3-2 on aggregate. It was a difficult job when he took over and he has made it a lot easier for the new man so who will it be?

The favourite for the job at the minute is Lee Clark and he is quite similar to Hughton in a way because he would rather see his team pick up a point than try and get all three. This may seem a little bit of a negative tactic and it may be the reason why Clark couldn’t get Huddersfield Town promoted from League 1 but Birmingham do have enough quality in their side to produce some magic at any given time, so it could work out well for them. The only reason why they should be reluctant in giving him the job would be the fact he hasn’t managed in the Championship before.

Paul Ince is also in the running for the job and this does surprise me slightly as he hasn’t had a job since leaving Notts County in April 2011. The managers they are linked with suggests they don’t want to spend much money and are looking to give someone another chance at a good club. Ince, had a terrible time at Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, winning only six games out of 21 but this experience could have served him well and he may be able to get his career back on track at St Andrews. Personally, I don’t think hiring Paul Ince would be a good choice but he has achieved the board’s ambitions both at Macclesfield Town and MK Dons the first round so maybe he would be a success.

Finally, Alan Curbishley is linked with yet another job and he has been out of football for even longer than Ince so it won’t be easy for him to jump straight back in and challenge for promotion. But if the board are going to give him a few seasons to sort it out, I can see the former Charlton Athletic manager leading them back to the Premier League. After leaving West Ham United in 2008 he wanted to take a break from the game but nobody expected it to be this long and now it could be a huge risk giving him the job because football has changed a lot in the last few years. He did a fantastic job at Charlton for a very long time and a very underrated job in my opinion at West Ham United so why not give him another chance.

I do want to see Curbishley get another job and Birmingham could be a good fit for him as the fans are always very realistic and over the last few years have been very patient so he could be given the time to succeed and do well. I’m not sure what the target is for the coming season but I think it would be a little silly for the board to be expecting as much success next year.

Who will be Hull City’s next manager?

Hull City are looking for a new manager after controversially sacking Nick Barmby after comments he allegedly made about the club’s finances.

The Tigers only finished seven points off the playoffs

This came as a real shock to me and probably a lot of Hull City fans after they were challenging for a place in the playoffs towards the end of last season and finished in 8th place. It looked as though Barmby would be the man to lead them back to the Premier League and wanted to strengthen his squad in the summer but obviously what he said annoyed the board and they must have thought that he was trying to bully them into giving him more funds to bring in transfer targets. Barmby had won 13 of his 33 games in charge and if he had been allowed to continue, I think he would have improved this record even more and they would have been in with a shout of the playoffs next season but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

So now it is time to look to the future and who they will replace him with. The favourite at the moment is Lee Clark who would be a good choice in my opinion because of his good work at Huddersfield Town. However, he couldn’t get them promoted from League 1 and was sacked. It was a strange decision to sack him but if they can get promoted this year, it will show it was the right thing to do. Back to Clark, and I think he will make Hull into a good passing side and also make them difficult to beat as his record shows, only losing 40 of his 178 matches in his managerial career so far.

Another name that I think should be linked with the job is Billy Davies, who has proved time and time again that on a small budget he can get teams challenging at the top of the playoffs. He can do the job in the Championship and because he doesn’t have a club and has been out of football for a little while now, he may be tempted by Hull. A stumbling block could be the finances as he had a lot of disputes with the board at Nottingham Forest about transfers and other things and if the board at Hull couldn’t please Nick Barmby, they will struggle to please someone like Davies.

Finally, the last name that has been mentioned is Karl Robinson of MK Dons who looks like a very impressive young manager and deserves a chance at a higher level but unfortunately for him he hasn’t managed to win promotion with his current side. One reason for this is the fact that he doesn’t seem to have a plan B, if his passing game isn’t working then he doesn’t know what to do at all. He works on a small budget and gets a lot out of those players and can be quite clever in the loan market so these things make him a good candidate for the job. With him only being 31 he has a lot of potential to become a great manager in years to come and could use Hull as a stepping stone to the Premier League either by taking them there or doing a good enough job to get offered a job by a Premier League side.

I think Billy Davies should get the job, he has had a very good career so far in management and will want to get back into football sooner rather than later. I think he would be very successful and would continue the job Barmby had started and improve the club. It is a tough choice to make for the board but it is a job that will take a lot of people’s interests because of how high up the league they finished.

Who will win the League 1 playoffs?

League 1 playoffs could be the most exciting they have been in a number of years as I cannot see an outsider out of Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, MK Dons and Stevenage.

Sheffield United will play away to Stevenage in the first leg while Huddersfield travel to MK Dons. So will the club from Sheffield be able to get their season back on track after losing out to Sheffield rivals Wednesday in the race for the automatic spots. Or will Stevenage continue their good form under Gary Smith? Can Huddersfield go one better than last year and win in the playoff final? Or will MK Dons passing style be good enough to get them into the Championship.

Sheffield United finished in third place an therefore you would think that they would be favourites but with everything that has gone in recent weeks will get their fans worried and they may not be as confident as they should be. With them running out of strikers with James Beattie the latest to get sent off they may struggle to get the goals needed to win the semi final and then the final. But they do have experience in their squad and should be able to deal with the pressure, the fans will also play an important part as Bramall Lane can be a difficult place to go when the fans are fully behind the team. A key player to watch is Lee Williamson who can get goals from the midfield and will cause problems for the Stevenage defence, he has scored 13 goals this season which is a good return for a midfielder and is the top scorer in the squad currently.

Huddersfield Town now with Simon Grayson in charge have been slightly inconsistent since he took over from Lee Clark but he has managed to guide them to the playoffs. He does have history of being in the League 1 playoffs and has won it on one occasion with Blackpool in the 2006-07 season but unfortunately has lost a playoff when in charge of Leeds United.  So the key player for Huddersfield in my opinion will no doubt be Jordan Rhodes who has got 38 goals this season and if they can keep him fit for the playoffs they will score goals but one worry is that there will be too much pressure on him and he may not be able to perform as well as we all know he can.

MK Dons go into the playoffs on the back of a 1-0 home defeat but this shouldn’t make them feel any less confident as they were already comfortably in the playoffs. Karl Robinson deserves a lot of praise for what he has done at the club and has made his team play good football. He likes his side to keep possession and no matter what happens he wants his team to keep the ball on the floor which is very rare in League 1. A key player could be Dean Lewington and although this may strange because he is a left back, he can be very influential and has played 53 games and added four goals this season. He has a good left foot and is a very solid defender for the club.

Stevenage secured their place in the playoffs on the last day of the season with a 3-0 win over Bury. The club may have been criticised by some fans because of their direct tactics but they are only getting criticised because it is working for them and it is very difficult to stop. The recent 2-2 draw away to Sheffield United will give them confidence to go there and take the game to the Blades and they have a very good home record so they have a really good chance. Also beating off the competition to secure their place in the playoffs will give their players a massive lift. Scott Laird will be vital for the team during the playoffs and he is actually the second top scorer for the club with nine goals this season. He has very good delivery and sets up a lot of goals for his teammates.

I think Stevenage will beat Sheffield United over the two legs because they will be very confident and it will be hard for Danny Wilson to pick up his players for the two games and Stevenage will put a lot of pressure on their defence. If United ‘s defence can stay strong they may have a chance but I don’t think they will. In the other semi final, I think MK Dons passing game will be good enough to beat Huddersfield as they are too over reliant on Jordan Rhodes at times and if he struggles they will most likely lose. The final will be a game of two differing styles of football and I think because of that Stevenage will come out on top and achieve their third promotion in three seasons.

Who will be Bournemouth’s next manager?

Bournemouth have sacked their manager Lee Bradbury only a week after club chairman Eddie Mitchell said they were making progress and was happy with the club’s current position in League 1.

Bournemouth are currently 12th in League 1

However a run of six defeats in eight games was enough for Mitchell and he has placed Paul Groves and Shaun Brooks in charge until the end of the season which will at least give them a chance to impress. With the club being in no danger of relegation this season, the players can relax and maybe these two will motivate them and get them to play good football again. This could lead to them getting the job permanently.

However, there are other managers in the frame for the job and the first that comes to my mind is Sean O’Driscoll because he is a very good manager and has been out of work for quite a while now after leaving Doncaster. He has already had a spell as manager of Bournemouth so he knows the place and should settle down pretty quickly into the role. He managed them for 326 games, winning 118 of them and he also got them promoted to League 1 in the 2002-03 season through the playoffs. After leaving Bournemouth he achieved even more success at Doncaster and was constantly praised by pundits and fans alike for the way his team played. He got them promoted to the Championship and also won the Football League Trophy. He should be a fans favourite because he has spent a large part of his life involved with the club as he spent a large part of his playing career at the club too, pulling on the shirt 423 times. The only problem is that he is currently working as a coach at Nottingham Forest who may not be prepared to let him go on a free and Bournemouth probably do still need a cheap option.

So if they are looking for a cheap option maybe Brian Laws will be in with a shout because he like O’Driscoll has won promotions throughout his managerial career and this is what Bournemouth will be aiming for next season. The former Sheffield Wednesday manager has been without a club since leaving Burnley and will probably be looking for a way back into football and Bournemouth could be something that interests him. He has a lot of experience and has a win record of 36.35% in his career which is not bad and maybe good enough for League 1.

Lee Clark is another name I will mention because in my opinion he was harshly treated by Huddersfield and will come back a better manager because of it. He has a lot of potential and could be a very good manager in the future and possibly manage right at the highest level. However, he needs to make sure his next job is the right one or it could cripple him. This job could be perfect as it would be similar to the job he was doing at Huddersfield and if they don’t get promoted this year, I am sure he will want to get one over on his former employers and at Bournemouth he will have the opportunity to do that.

I thought Bradbury was harshly sacked but the club have to move on and there are quite a lot of good managers out of work at the moment and if they make the right decision then next season could be very successful for them and with all of the recent financial problems it would be remarkable to see them playing in the Championship.