Terminating the contract of Guy Whittingham was always going to be a tough decision. A crowd favourite during his playing days, he was relieved of his managerial duties following a meeting with the Pompey upper hierarchy. So who is in the mix for the most sought after job in League 2? Here are just five names in with a shout.
‘Mad dog’, as he is widely known, only recently was quoted as being interested in the Crystal Palace managerial job; the not so heady heights of League 2 may be a bit of a drop down for this notorious character. The fact that he played around 45 games for Portsmouth in the mid-90s doesn’t seem to have put him in that good stead. His record in the football league is far from impressive on paper having only been promoted the once, all be it this year with Gillingham. A man who seems to have anecdotes about every football league player, his appearance on Saturday at Fratton Park led to rumours about his imminent arrival. This has therefore seen Martin Allen become the early favourite.
With the club in financial difficulty, it was Cotterill who played such a vital role in stabilising Pompey through some very tough times which saw them close to liquidation. After 61 games in charge, he jumped ship to Nottingham Forest, only to leave to club just nine months later recording a win percentage of 32%. Back in the summer, the Cheltenham-born 49 year old was said to have ‘unfinished business at Pompey’ , saying ‘it would be fantastic to go back there one day’. Whether he would be welcomed back is highly questionable with his time during financial difficulty being compounded by poor signings and long ball football.
Pompey had been linked to Warnock when they were looking for a replacement in 2005, and his reported interest in the Pompey job, which was discussed on Talksport on Saturday, would see the Yorkshireman return to the south after a less than satisfactory spell in charge of Leeds. A fierce reputation, who has worked wonders at a number of clubs including Sheffield United and Notts County, would presumably be after a hefty salary which may discourage Portsmouth. Ultimately you would imagine with his managerial expertise and large contact base he would harbour the ability to put them in with good opportunity to win this league, if not this year, then next. The question is after such a turbulent time in recent years, would Pompey want to take such a risk?
Having been put in charge for their game against a Southend team who have won four on the bounce, Awford will not have much time to make many changes to the team who sit closer to the bottom of the table than top. Whether Awford is a serious contender for the job is in much doubt; his previous experience as assistant manager at Bognor Regis and first team coach at Oxford being his only relevant credentials. The youngest player ever to appear in FA Cup, aged just 15 years and 88 days, will have his chance to prove himself, but for how long will be up to the discretion of the men in charge.
Wild Card: Justin Edinburgh
If Portsmouth do decide to go for a young and upcoming manager, Justin Edinburgh would be a prime contender for the job. Like 4 of the 5 other potential candidates, the ex-defender, from Basildon, had a spell on the south coast, making 35 appearances. Moving between a number of managerial jobs within the non-league, he took over at Newport in 2011 when they were languishing at the bottom of the then Blue Square Premier; two years later they are in the play-offs in League Two. This is no mean feat, the Conference notoriously being an extremely tough league to get out of. His attractive style of football differentiates him from many of the other candidates discussed; as does the fact he owns two Toni & Guy hair salons, not that I could not see Neil Warnock cultivating a young woman’s perm.