With Midlands newspaper the Express & Star reporting that Wolverhampton Wanderers will seek to appoint a British manager as Walter Zenga’s successor, we take a look at some of the British bosses that could find themselves in contention for the role, as Fosun International find themselves already looking to appoint their third manager since their summer takeover.
Rob Edwards (Sky Bet odds 11/1)
With owners Fosun International reportedly keen to conduct a thorough search for Zenga’s replacement, former Wolves defender Rob Edwards, recently linked with the Shrewsbury Town job, will likely be given the chance to oversee next weekend’s home clash with Derby County, as well as Saturday evening’s trip to Ewood Park, with both games being shown live by Sky Sports. The 33 year-old coach is highly thought-of at Molineux, having served as the club’s under-18s coach and then as a first team coach under both Kenny Jackett and Walter Zenga, after injury problems forced him to retire from the game prematurely at the age of 30. Should Wanderers arrest their slide in the coming weeks, and Edwards pick up maximum points during his extremely public audition, he could be a serious contender for the post, having been groomed as a future head coach for a number of years.
Dougie Freedman (1/1)
The former Crystal Palace, Bolton and Nottingham Forest boss has been backed into the position of bookies’ favourite for the job over the past few days, after a flurry of bets were placed on the out-of-work former striker. The Scot had a short spell at Molineux as a player in the late 1990’s, and enjoyed a promising start as Bolton Wanderers manager after leaving Crystal Palace with the London club in promotion contention back in 2012. Since then however, he has struggled somewhat, leaving Bolton after a poor run in 2014, before his tenure at Nottingham Forest, plagued by off-the-field issues, was cut short earlier this year. While he is not the big name that Wolves fans crave, and has struggled to consistently challenge for promotion with his previous clubs, albeit often in difficult circumstances, he does have a good amount of Championship experience to his name, and has also been linked with the vacancy at Wigan Athletic.
Sam Allardyce (3/1)
The overwhelming fan’s favourite. Just a month ago the prospect of ‘Big Sam’ dropping into the second tier so soon would have been unthinkable, but the well-documented Telegraph sting has left the now-former England manager’s reputation in tatters. Where better to rebuild that hard-earned reputation than as the boss of the club he grew up supporting? Wolves would be foolish not to at least make an attempt to lure Allardyce into the Molineux hotseat, he has, after all, won promotion in each of his only two full seasons as a second tier manager, and has an equally impressive record of keeping teams in the Premier League. The former Bolton, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland chief wouldn’t come cheap, however, having been the recipient of a reported £3million-per-year contract when he took the England job this summer, and he would surely seek assurances from the Wanderers owners that the spectre of ‘superagent’ Jorge Mendes would not be hanging over him as he attempted to conduct his transfer business, having left a number of his past clubs due to disagreements with owners and chairmen.
Nigel Pearson (12/1)
Should Wanderers look to appoint a manager who has been there and done it at this level, or should the romantic appointment of ‘Big Sam’ prove too costly, Pearson will surely be on their shortlist. Many felt that Derby County’s appointment of Pearson would be the final piece in the jigsaw for a club that has so often fallen just short of promotion in recent years. Alas, less than two months into the campaign, Pearson has left the iPro under a cloud, and is available once again. A seasoned campaigner who has been credited with providing the foundations for Leicester City’s astonishing Premier League success by Ballon D’Or nominee Riyad Mahrez, Pearson would certainly be viewed as a measured appointment, a man, who, with the right backing from those above him, would likely guide Wanderers to promotion contention within a relatively short space of time. Despite his solid record at this level, Pearson’s temperament has been called into question many times in recent years, and like Allardyce, he would not tolerate any interference in first team affairs from his employers, with his recent departure from Derby County reportedly the result of a heated confrontation with Rams owner Mel Morris.
Mick McCarthy (12/1)
It couldn’t happen. Could it? While a return for the man they once labelled ‘Super Mick’ would divide the Molineux masses, he undoubtedly has an impressive track record at this level, and with his Ipswich Town side currently occupying a similar position to that of his old club, would he be tempted to take on the challenge of repeating his 2009 Championship success with Wolves, but with far greater resources to play with? The straight-talking former Ireland manager certainly possesses the ability to get the best out of his players, enabling clubs to perform beyond their means, but despite McCarthy being backed into 12/1 in the betting, it is doubtful whether the club would move for a manager so far removed from the continental approach that they have adopted thus far, or whether McCarthy himself, bitterly stung by his 2012 sacking, would want to return to Molineux. Would McCarthy be welcomed back by the Molineux masses? He lost the majority of fans’ support during a dismal 2011-12 campaign, but is remembered fondly for bringing three years of Premier League football to a club that had spent the majority of the previous 20 years in the doldrums.
Who do you think should replace Walter Zenga as Wolverhampton Wanderers manager? Vote in the72’s poll here.