Despite only losing once in the last seven in all competitions, Sean O’Driscoll was somewhat harshly given the chop, leaving Bristol City languishing in 22nd position in League One without a manager and with the proposition of a tough game at Preston to cope with. Assistant manager John Pemberton has been put in temporary charge; however the hunt for their sixth manager in just three and half years has already begun. So who is in with a shot of becoming the Robins next manager?
Seemingly overlooked by Portsmouth, Steve Cotterill is, in his own words, ‘hungry’ to get back into football management. Linked with more clubs than a golfer, he has also been rumoured to be interested in both the Scunthorpe and Crawley jobs. Having gained promotion as champions of League Two with Notts County back in 2010, and overseeing a footballing revolution at Cheltenham, which saw them become a steady Football League club, there is no doubting his record as a lower league manager. However his recent spells at Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest and back in 2004 at Stoke shows that it doesn’t always go well for the Cheltenham born 49 year old. Would be a very sturdy appointment but nothing to get the pulse racing.
The Football League’s longest serving manager has worked wonders at Exeter City which saw them promoted to League One and saw Tisdale becoming the first Exeter City manger to win back-to-back promotions. Arguably the best dressed manager in football, his short spell with Bristol City in 1997 and the fact he has spent twelve years managing in the area, will put him high up in the club’s preferred manager targets. Lauded for his short and tidy football, the Bristol Post has put their backing behind the man born on the small island of Malta and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tisdale may look daringly down the road at this job.
Now managing at Oldham Athletic having been appointed back in the March of this year, this job opportunity may come a little earlier for this young and upcoming manager. Having made 174 appearances over a 6 year spell at the club, he was a predominant figure in the 2007-08 season which saw them narrowly miss out on promotion to the Premier League, losing 1-0 to Hull City in the play-off final. Son of Gary Johnson, he received a warm reception when he returned earlier this month to see his Oldham side draw 1-1 at Ashton Gate. But as previously mentioned, his inexperience may count against him this time.
In spite of his strong allegiances with Bristol Rovers, having had three different spells with the Gasheads, Holloway has been widely tipped to be the next City manager. Having only just recently left the Premier League as Crystal Palace manager, where he looked more forlorn than a beaten mattress, he has an excellent record of turning clubs from relegation candidates to promotion hunters. There would be wide apprehension if ‘Ollie’ was to be given the job, but this would quickly be overcome with excitement if he was to climb the League One table. This could be a match made in heaven or just easily in hell.
Wild card: Paolo Di Canio
The fiery Italian had an ill-fated 13 games in the North-East with Sunderland but like Cotterill, he is eager to get back in management. Carried out a solid job of promotion with Swindon to League One back in 2012 – winning League Two with a creditable 93 points – however his second season in charge was marred with off-field problems. His management style is predominately dictatorial with attention to detail of the highest order, however his record at Swindon is not to be overlooked and he may well be the spark that could alight Ashton Gate again.