IF Blackpool are getting nowhere in their search for a new manager, they could do worse than follow the lead of Barnsley.
The Yorkshire side were struggling at the foot of the Championship at the end of last year, form which saw boss Keith Hill get the sack.
But after, like Blackpool, they were turned down by Sean O’Driscoll, they decided an internal appointment was the answer.
Hill’s right-hand-man, David Flitcroft was handed the job, and he’s turned things around for the Tykes, with four wins out of six games. But it was a clever appointment by Flitcroft in his backroom staff which may have made the difference.
Micky Mellon was available after leaving Fleetwood earlier that month. The former Blackpool midfielder was unlucky to be out of work after guiding the Cod Army to three consecutive promotions. And it’s no coincidence in the upturn of form since Mellon arrived.
“When Keith Hill was sacked, the club decided they wanted to keep David Flitcroft,” Mellon told The Gazette. “I’ve known him for many a year and did all my coaching badges with him. He called me on New Year’s Eve and asked if I’d like to become a part of it. The Championship is a league I know a lot about, although I hadn’t managed in there, I played a lot of my career at that level. It was a great opportunity for me, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Barnsley currently lie in 22nd position in the Championship, four points from safety. But in recent weeks they’ve given themselves a real chance.
They lost Flitcroft’s first game against Peterborough, but have since then gone onto beat Burnley, Hull, Leeds and Millwall.
Mellon added: “Since we took over we’ve had six games, and got five results. We’ve done really well. I know everyone always says this, but the lads are a really great bunch. They know they are fighting for their lives, and they are responding to that really well. Everything about the club is top class, from the training ground to the facilities. I look forward to every game in the Championship, the value of the victories are massive.”
While Mellon is loving life in the Championship, he admits it’s been strange going from number one, to number two at a club.
But it’s something he’s thriving on.
“I’d be lying if I said after five years that I didn’t miss some parts of being a manager,” he said. “There are certain things I’ve had to take a bit of a back seat on, but that’s the job I’m in.
“But I have a great relationship with the manager and we make a lot of joint decisions. He keeps my heavily involved. The Championship is such a big job which you need an assistant you can delegate too.”
The 40-year-old returns to Bloomfield Road tomorrow, 16 years after making more than 100 appearances for the Seasiders.
He’s still a Fylde coast resident and is looking forward to his return.
“It will be good for me to go back to Blackpool, it’s a club I’m very fond of,” he said. “I had a great time there as a player. I live in the town, and it will be a good day. I know a lot about the team, and the club and I’m looking forward to going there and giving a good account of ourselves.”
Barnsley will be without Steven Dawson (ankle) and Jim McNulty (knee). Former Pool defender Rob Edwards is out of favour at Oakwell and is unlikely to be involved.