Riga heading for exit and Coyle could replace him

Owen Coyle

Owen Coyle

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Jose Riga’s troubled term as Blackpool manager looks set to come to an end, with Owen Coyle high on the list of candidates to replace him.

The Gazette understands the relationship between Riga and chairman Karl Oyston has completely broken down and the Belgian’s departure could be confirmed today.

Jose Riga

Jose Riga

The 57-year-old is on the brink of a Bloomfield Road exit after only six games in charge – the shortest term in office in the club’s history, halving Michael Appleton’s record of 12 games in 2012-13.

Riga left for a family holiday in Belgium after last weekend’s defeat at Millwall and has made no contact with Bloomfield Road since the transfer window closed on Monday.

Should Jose Riga’s reign as Blackpool boss end this weekend, the search would begin immediately for Pool’s fifth manager (including long-term caretaker Barry Ferguson) since Ian Holloway moved on in November 2012.

Coyle would be Oyston’s first choice after two attempts to secure his services in recent years.

The 48-year-old Scot has been out of work since his six-month spell at Wigan ended last December and would bring a wealth of experience to Bloomfield Road. The former Celtic striker, who is based in the North-West, guided Burnley to the Premier League in 2009 before moving on the Bolton the following season.

Riga has presided over Pool’s worst ever start to a season – six straight defeats – in a turbulent reign which is not yet three months old.

Having started pre-season training in June with only six players, Riga just about patched a squad together in time for the start of the season.

His time at the club has been overshadowed by constant bickering with Oyston, the Belgian claiming he has never been properly backed by his chairman.

Riga stated last weekend that his squad was not good enough to avoid relegation and that at least four new additions were needed ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.

No new players arrived and Pool now look set to start yet another new era, with the so- called ‘Riga Revolution’ at an end.

Riga was yet again unavailable for comment last night as was Oyston, who continues to come under heavy criticism from supporters.

Both the Blackpool Supporters Association and the Supporters Trust slammed Oyston in The Gazette, claiming he had not done enough to drag the club out of its current mess. And Riga’s assistant Bart De Roover branded the club “unprofessional” as he walked out this week.

Burton boss Gary Rowett and former Leeds and Reading manager Brian McDermott would also be high on Oyston’s list of possible replacements for Riga.