Fleetwood start new boss search

Pressley - on his way out
Pressley - on his way out
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Fleetwood Town were beset by two burning questions today in the wake of the exit of manager Steven Pressley.

Who will succeed the Scot, who only had nine months in charge?

And why did he go at this juncture with only 10 days to go before the start of the 2016-17 campaign?

Fleetwood have already started the search for a successor with the new season getting under way on Saturday week.

While first team coach Barry Nicholson and former Wimbledon boss Stuart Murdoch assumed temporary charge for last night’s friendly at Southport, the guessing game about who will take over has started already.

There will be no shortage of applicants - indeed, they have started coming in already, and the aim is to have a successor in place in time for the start of the League One campaign.

The likelihood is that they will try for a high-profile name.

The obvious attraction to any newcomer is the fact that though they had a season-long battle against relegation, the club’s long-term ambition is shown by the fact that earlier in the year they opened a state-of-the-art, £8 million complex at Poolfoot Farm, Thornton, which is the envy of some Premier League clubs.

Likely candidates could well include Dave Jones, the ex-Wolves and Southampton manager and Phil Brown (curently at Southend) who was linked with the post prior to the appointment of Pressley.

The likes of Dean Saunders, Iain Dowie, Nigel Adkins, Malky Mackay Shaun Derry. Paul Dickov and Kevin Nolan are not currently in league manager jobs.

There had been rumours behind the scenes that all was not well for some time and that Pressley’s position had been under close scrutiny

His position may not have been helped by Town’s modest pre-season.

A 5-0 loss against Liverpool was par for the course and understandable, but in Holland on tour they had modest success, drawing with Fortuna Sittard,, losing 5-0 to AZ Alkmaar and 1-0 against Roda JC.

A touchline difference of opinion between Pressley and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may not have helped the erstwhile Fleetwood manager and created the wrong impression at a time when Town were trying to cultivate relations with Premier League clubs with a view to getting up-and-coming young prospects in on loan.

Pressley, who left with assistant Neil MacFarlane, has declined to go into the reasons behind his departure, described on the Fleetwood website as a resignation.

Pressley’s successor will be Fleetwood’s third manager in nine months. Pressley replaced Graham Alexander, who is currently in charge at Scunthorpe United.

Meantime, Fleetwood have confirmed that friendlies against Gateshead and Heart Of Midlothian, Pressley’s former club, have been postponed.

The Cod Army were due to face the Scottish Premier League side less than 24 hours after welcoming Wigan Athletic to Highbury on Friday evening and Gateshead tonight.

But following talks between the clubs it has been decided the games will no longer take place.

A club spokesman said: “Any supporters who have incurred travel expense due to the cancellations are urged to contact the club shop and we will look into reimbursement.”