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Saturday, 03 July 2010

Leicester City: Who will replace Pearson at the Walkers Stadium?

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I thought Brazil would win the World Cup this year. I also thought Andy Murray may have won Wimbledon. But I never for one second thought that Nigel Pearson would leave Leicester City.

The former Middlesbrough captain revived the Foxes following Ian Holloway’s awful spell at the club and almost led the Foxes back into the Premier League with back-to-back promotions. The future was looking good for the boys in blue but after everything that he achieved at the club, Leicester chairman Milan Mandaric believed Pearson deserved the right to speak to Hull City. The Tigers chief Adam Pearson obviously sold the vision of Hull City to his namesake Nigel and now Leicester City are in the market for a new manager.

Mr Mandaric has a potted history when it comes to appointing managers – Holloway’s time was an unmitigated disaster, Martin Allen only lasted three months and Gary Megson jumped ship after just six weeks – but the former Portsmouth chief has to make the right call this time round to ensure that all of Pearson’s hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Unsurprisingly, there are a number of big names being linked with the vacant post. Here I will look at the main runners and riders and analyse their chances of success at the Walkers Stadium.

Paulo Sousa

The Swansea City boss has emerged as the clear favourite for the vacant post but Milan Mandaric and Swansea City have both denied any contact. But that hasn’t stopped some bookies closing the book. The former Portuguese international replaced Roberto Martinez as Swans’ boss last summer and narrowly missed out on a play-off place. He likes to play attractive football and as a player won silverware in his homeland with Benfica, in Italy with Juventus and in Germany with Borrusia Dortmund. He has a decent relationship with his chairman Huw Jenkins and I’d be surprised if he threw that away to work with Mandaric, who can rub up certain people the wrong way.

Micky Adams

Could the former Leicester City boss make a sensational return to the Walkers Stadium? Adams led the Foxes back to the Premier League in 2003 despite the club having been placed into administration. However, he was unable to keep them in the top flight and in October 2004 he quit. Adams was believed to have become frustrated with the lack of investment at the club and the length of the contracts dished out by former regimes. Now at Port Vale in League Two, he just missed out on a play-off place last season but is busy preparing for new campaign. They say you should never go back but Adams may not be able to resist another crack at Leicester City.

Paul Ince

The former Manchester United, Liverpool and England midfielder is a free agent following his dismissal by Milton Keynes Dons and Mandaric could well decide to plump for Ince’s no-nonsense approach. At Macclesfield he was dubbed as a future England manager. After a brief spell at Blackburn Rovers though no-one wanted to touch him. Ince is an uncompromising figure but he knows what he’s talking about. He’s captained his country, played aboard and won silverware as a player and as a manger. His management style may not please everyone but he is a born-winner. My only concerns would be his relationship with Mandaric and whether the fans would give him time to put his stamp on the team.

Iain Dowie

The former Coventry City boss has failed to save two Premier League sides – Newcastle United and Hull City – from the drop but he remains confident in his abilities to manage. Unfortunately I don’t think too many Leicester fans would be happy to see him in their dugout. He did well at Oldham and won a number of plaudits for guiding Crystal Palace from the drop zone to the Premier League within five months. However, since those heady days he has failed to spend any longer than a year at any club. He has been linked with Leicester City twice before. Could it be third time lucky for him? I’m sure the Leicester fans hope not!

Tony Mowbray

The former West Brom boss failed to bring the glory days back to Glasgow Giants and was axed after just nine months in the job. However, Mowbray is a manager who can work on a limited budget and entertain the fans with some of the best attacking football around. He achieved this both at Hibernian and West Brom but ultimately failed at Celtic due to the pressure for instant success. Mowbray may not be the best defensively but he is a keen believer on scoring more than the opposition so the fans would have plenty to get excited about. He also has a knack of signing class players for notable fees.

Other names in the frame include promising Barnsley boss Mark Robins, former Coventry and Fulham manager Chris Coleman, ex-Middlesbrough chief Gareth Southgate and the recently axed Hull City gaffer Phil Brown.

*Calling all Leicester City fans. Who would you like to see in charge of your team come the start of August? Would Sousa have your support? Would Adams leave you purring or would Mowbray have you hopping around with excitement? Whatever your views, I’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth



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