Oyston refuses to rule out Riga sacking

Jose Riga took training yesterday
Jose Riga took training yesterday
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Karl Oyston has refused to quash rumours that Blackpool manager Jose Riga is set to be sacked.

Speculation about the manager’s future has been rife since The Gazette revealed on Saturday that Riga’s position was under threat.

The relationship between Riga and the chairman is understood to have totally broken down, though talks are planned for this afternoon, when it is believed Riga’s future will be decided.

Riga took training yesterday before returning to Bloomfield Road in the hope of speaking with chairman Oyston.

However, The Gazette understands no discussions took place and Oyston revealed they will hold a make-or-break meeting today.

And when given the opportunity to end talk of a sacking, Oyston instead chose to hit out at his manager for returning to Belgium last week to spend time with his family.

Oyston said: “Until I’ve spoken to Jose personally, I don’t want to comment about the speculation or go into it in too much detail.

“However, I have to say I find myself slightly bemused yet again by the actions of our manager.

“He has said, on many occasions on the record, that he would use the international break to get the players up to fitness and to work with the squad we now have.

“The first thing the manager does is hop on a plane and clear off to Belgium for a week without telling anyone.

“Let’s face it, we’ve lost every competitive game he’s managed and these actions aren’t the most professional way to get us out of this position.

“To hop on a plane without telling your employer or your colleagues isn’t right. It’s something I will be speaking to him about.”

Since news broke of Riga’s potential departure over the weekend, The Gazette has made numerous attempts to speak with the Belgian and his representatives with no success.

The Gazette spent almost two hours with a national TV crew at Pool’s training ground yesterday in the hope of a statement from Riga only for the gates to remain closed.

If Riga is dismissed, his successor now looks unlikely to be to be the former Burnley, Bolton and Wigan boss Owen Coyle.

The Gazette understands that Pool have cooled on Coyle after making enquiries and have now turned their attentions elsewhere, with Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett believed to be high on their wish-list.

The 40-year-old ex-defender, who spent a loan spell at Pool from Everton in 1995, has been in charge at Burton since 2012 and led them to the League Two Play-off Final last season.

The Brewers have started the current season in impressive form, sitting top of the table and enjoying League Cup wins over Wigan and Premier League QPR.