Blackpool close to naming boss

Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton

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BLACKPOOL are “very close” to naming their new manager and hope to make an announcement this afternoon.

The Seasiders have acted quickly to fill the gap left by Ian Holloway’s departure for Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Chairman Karl Oyston and club secretary Matt Williams spent yesterday finalising a shortlist and talking to potential candidates.

Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton has emerged as the strong favourite, with some bookies already closing the betting, but other names are still in the frame.

Appleton was this morning at his home on the south coast, and if a compensation package can be agreed with Pompey the 36-year-old will travel north ahead of Pool’s match at Sheffield Wednesday tonight.

The Gazette understands Pool have spoken to Owen Coyle, Paul Ince, Paul Jewell and Billy Davies in the past 24 hours, while the likes of Iain Dowie and Millwall’s Kenny Jackett were also considered.

Caretaker manager Steve Thompson has also been considered and Blackpool have had contact from over 30 managers expressing interest in the job.

After narrowing it down to the final few, Oyston said he’s confident of announcing the new boss today. “It’s very close,” he said. “We spent all Monday trying to get things in place and we hope that by late afternoon we’ll be making an announcement.

“But don’t hold me to that. We’ll do it as soon as we are physically able.

“I’ve seen some of our near neighbours in the Championship take some time over it and the instability has not done them any favours. I’d like to move quite quickly.”

Favourite Appleton took up a coaching role at West Brom last year after a knee injury forced him to retire at only 27. He rose quickly through the ranks at the Hawthorns, working as assistant manager under Roberto Di Matteo and Roy Hodgson. He got his big break at Portsmouth almost exactly 12 months ago only for financial problems to force him to sell almost his entire squad.

Salford-born Appleton came through the youth system at Manchester United before spending four years at Preston North End, and he fits the bill perfectly as one of football’s brightest young managers.

Oyston revealed he is not looking for another Ian Holloway. He explained: “There’s only one Ian. We need to find a totally different character, who brings a new set of skills to us. That’s what we are looking for.

“We wouldn’t want the same kind of character as it would be so difficult to replace like with like. We want someone who perhaps hasn’t got the same family ties so far away, which may interfere a little with preparation.

“Just as Ian has gone for a fresh challenge, we need a fresh challenge at Blackpool. Our wage bill is as high as it’s ever been, apart from when we were in the Premier League.

“Any new manager who comes in will no doubt want to strengthen the squad. I’ll certainly help him and make that a very real possibility to help him do things his way. They all have different ways, and I fully expect one or two changes when we get the new manager in place.”