Blackpool have approach ‘rejected’ for QPR assistant while Liverpool Under-23 coach Neil Critchley becomes new favourite

Blackpool have had an approach for QPR’s assistant manager John Eustace turned down, according to Sky Sports.

Sunday, 1st March 2020, 6:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st March 2020, 6:34 pm

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Liverpool’s Under-23 coach Neil Critchley, meanwhile, has become the new bookies’ favourite to replace Simon Grayson.

The 41-year-old, who took charge of Liverpool’s FA Cup game against Shrewsbury Town last month in the absence of Jurgen Klopp, has rocketed out of nowhere and is now odds on for the job.

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Former Kidderminster Harries boss John Eustace pictured on the touchline at Bloomfield Road in 2016 during an FA Cup game against the Seasiders

Born in Crewe, Critchley is regarded as one of the top coaches in Europe.

The former Crewe Alexandra graduate, who moved to Liverpool in 2013 to take on the role of Under 18s coach before being handed the Under 23 role in the summer of 2017, is just one of 16 coaches in the country to have gained the highest possible qualification in the game.

This comes after he was hand-picked by the FA to take UEFA’s first elite badge course.

QPR, meanwhile, have become the third club to knock back the Seasiders in their attempts to speak to a potential new manager despite Eustace holding interest in taking the job.

Neil Critchley is now the bookies' favourite

The 40-year-old has held the position of QPR's number two since May 2018, when he left his managerial post at Kidderminster Harries after two seasons in the role.

Oxford United turned down Blackpool’s approach to speak to Karl Robinson last week, while Richie Wellens signed a new contract at Swindon Town after Pool had a request knocked back.

Nathan Jones was previously believed to have been offered the job but the Welshman turned it down.

The 46-year-old is still receiving his pay-off from Stoke City, where he was sacked in November, and is believed to be holding out for another job.

That’s also believed to be the case for former Barnsley, Leeds United and Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom, who was strongly linked to the post due to his previous connection with chief executive Ben Mansford.

The Gazette understands owner Simon Sadler met with a candidate on Saturday and an appointment is believed to be close.

It comes after Grayson was sacked on February 12 after a run of just one win in 12.

Caretaker boss David Dunn, speaking after yesterday’s stoppage-time win over Ipswich Town, suggested that an announcement could be close.

“I’m sure the club will make some kind of announcement soon - whether it’s a manager or whatever it is, we’ll just wait and see,” he said.

“As I keep saying, and I’ve not been told anything, I’m just keeping the seat warm and trying to get the next manager as many points as we can so he can build on it.

“I just see myself doing my best for the next manager, whoever it is, and trying to help the club because that’s all I can do.”

When asked if he’s been told an appointment is close, Dunn told The Gazette: “No, it’s just the same as usual and when it gets near, we’ll let you know.

“Honestly, that’s the gospel truth. I have no indication.

“I thought last week something might possibly happen, but I just keep going and keep trying to win games.”