Pool closing in on new boss

Sean O'Driscoll
Sean O'Driscoll
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BLACKPOOL are already closing in on their new manager.

Pool are hoping to move quickly to fill the gap left after Michael Appleton’s shock departure to Blackburn yesterday.

The 37-year-old quit Bloomfield Road, along with first team coach Ashley Westwood.

Steve Thompson has been placed in caretaker charge for this afternoon’s Championship clash with Charlton.

But while the ink was still wet on Appleton’s Rovers contract, Pool chairman Karl Oyston and club secretary Matt Williams have already spoken to a number of targets.

Among those are former Nottingham Forest boss Sean O’Driscoll, who is red-hot favourite for the vacant role.

He held talks with Oyston yesterday and is available after leaving the City Ground post last month, The Gazette understand O’Driscoll is interested in the job.

Caretaker Thompson, Coventry boss Mark Robins, Paul Ince and ex-Fleetwood Town’s Micky Mellon are all being linked.

Pool made approaches to a number of clubs in an attempt to hold preliminary talks with managers.

Oyston said: “We’ve been speaking to one or two candidates for the position.

“We’ve been stumbling along getting permission to talk to one or two other managers.

“Unlike other clubs, we do things properly.

“I contact my opposite number, ask for permission to speak to their employee and discuss the relevant compensation package in case we want to take them.”

One manager currently employed who was approached is Bradford City’s Phil Parkinson.

He has hit the headlines in recent months with his side’s giant killing exploits in the League Cup.

Pool wanted to know if he’d be interested in discussing a move as one of many on their list, only to have their approach turned down.

It’s understood it was just an enquiry and Parkinson was never high on Oyston’s list.

Veteran striker Kevin Phillips is another who may throw his hat into the ring.

Any manager who is appointed will have to work with Pool’s current backroom staff.

Oyston is proud of the group which has been loyal to the club since the League One days under Simon Grayson.

And he says there’s no way he’d ever consider letting them leave.

Oyston added: “We don’t consider people for our manager’s job which will require wholesale dismissal of our entire backroom staff.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Steve here, he’s been fantastic for this club.

“I’m grateful to him to help us through this temporary period of instability.

“I think it just shows that the policy we have of not allowing wholesale change when a new manager comes in is the correct policy.

“We are left with pretty much the bones of the staff here which took us from the Championship to the Premier League.

“I think we’ve always said stability is very important, that doesn’t just apply to the manager, it applies to the whole club.”

One surprising candidate to throw his name into the hat is striker Kevin Phillips.

The 39-year-old is expected to go into coaching at the end of the season once he retires from playing.

And he said he would consider a management role at Bloomfield Road if an offer came his way.

“I would certainly look at it,” Phillips admitted.

“Whether it would be as a player-coach, I don’t know.

“I want to stay in the game, so if it was presented to me, I’d certainly look at it and give it my full attention.”

After Parkinson turned down the chance to speak to Pool, Bradford joint chairman Mark Lawn said: “We want to keep Phil and his backroom staff.

“We’re in negotiations with his agent about extending his deal with the club and Phil told me he wants to be here.”

Lawn added: “I understand that Phil is going to be in contention for other jobs and that is nice because it means he is doing well.”