Latest on Blackpool’s managerial search as Stockport County boss rockets up the betting

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Conversations with prospective candidates have now begun as Blackpool step up their search for the club’s next head coach.
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Ian Holloway reveals bizarre reason why he missed bombshell news of Neil Critchl...

It’s understood the Seasiders conducted an interview with Cheltenham Town boss Michael Duff yesterday, who had also spoken to Barnsley the previous day.

He’s far from the only name in the frame though.

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Speaking to Tangerine TV on Monday, chief executive Ben Mansford revealed the news came “completely out of the blue” on Wednesday evening, before Critchley’s departure was confirmed the following day.

The Seasiders are now beginning to work their way through a shortlist of names, as alluded to by Pool’s chief executive during Monday’s interview.

Dave Challinor flew up the bookies’ odds yesterday to become second favourite for the vacant role at Bloomfield RoadDave Challinor flew up the bookies’ odds yesterday to become second favourite for the vacant role at Bloomfield Road
Dave Challinor flew up the bookies’ odds yesterday to become second favourite for the vacant role at Bloomfield Road

Plenty of names have already been linked with the post, with speculation ramping up over the last couple of days.

Here’s the main names in the frame as it stands:

Dave Challinor

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The former AFC Fylde boss, now in charge of Stockport County, sky-rocketed up the bookies’ odds yesterday evening to become second favourite behind Michael Duff, with no clear indication why. Speculation emerged on social media suggesting Challinor had been interviewed by the club on Tuesday, but it’s understood the 46-year-old is still away on holiday with his family and is not due back in the country until next week. Challinor opted to leave Hartlepool United last year after achieving promotion to League Two to drop back down to the National League to link up with Stockport, a club he represented as a player, before leading the Hatters to the league title. ‘Chally’ also enjoyed unprecedented success with AFC Fylde, winning three promotions as well as the FA Trophy, before falling at the final hurdle in the National League play-off final in 2019.

Michael Duff

It’s understood Blackpool interviewed Duff on Tuesday, a day after the Cheltenham Town boss also held talks with League One side Barnsley. The Robins, who confirmed they have granted permission for Barnsley and Blackpool to speak to their manager, have offered new and improved terms to the 44-year-old in an attempt to keep him at Whaddon Road, but it’s been reported in Gloucestershire that the third tier side are now preparing for life without him. Duff won the League Two title during the 2020/21 season and comfortably kept the Robins in the third tier last season, finishing in 15th - achieving the club’s highest ever finish in their history.

Ian Evatt

Bolton News reported yesterday that Evatt is happy with his current club amid speculation linking the former Blackpool defender with a return to Bloomfield Road. Despite reports from respected journalist Alan Nixon that Blackpool are interested in speaking to the 40-year-old, it’s understood there’s been no official approach from the Seasiders. The Gazette understands Evatt would have entertained a conversation with his former club had an approach been forthcoming, but in any event a move was considered unlikely at this moment in time with other factors also at play. ‘Evo’ has impressed with both Barrow and current club Bolton, who are expected to challenge for promotion from League One next season.

Dean Holden

This one seems a bit more left field and more unlikely than some of the others. Holden is currently number two to Michael O’Neill at Stoke City but hasn’t exactly impressed on the two occasions he has worked as manager at both Oldham Athletic and Bristol City. This one is likely to be agent talk and a case of getting his name out there more than anything else.

Filippo Inzaghi

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Whenever there’s a search for a new manager, there always appears to be one major left-field name linked to the vacancy and on this occasion it appears to be Inzaghi. An Italian legend and World Cup winner, the Daily Mail’s Jack Gaughan revealed on Twitter yesterday that the former striker is reportedly interested in speaking to Blackpool about the job. It’s understood his representatives have reached out to the Seasiders but it’s believed that interest hasn’t been reciprocated - or certainly not at this stage anyway. The 48-year-old is well known to football fans around the world for his displays as a player for AC Milan, but he’s had mixed results as a coach with the likes of Brescia, Venezia, Bologna and Benevento, as well as his former side Milan.

Liam Rosenior

Rosenior jumped up the bookies’ list yesterday from 33/1 to 14/1 (at the time of writing) after becoming the latest name to be linked by Alan Nixon. The former defender is currently Wayne Rooney’s assistant at Derby County, but it’s believed he may be ready to fly the nest and become a number one in his own right. Son of former manager Leroy, the ex-Fulham and Hull City defender is highly thought of as a coach and a respected figure at Derby, where he impressed supporters whenever he addressed the media in interviews. He joined Derby in 2020 as a first-team coach under Dutch boss Phillip Cocu. Following the appointment of Wayne Rooney as manager in 2021, Rosenior was promoted to assistant and was a key member of Rooney's staff as the Rams fought valiantly on the pitch during the 2021/22 season.