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An updated three contenders to become Blackburn manager

Blackburn remain on the hunt for a new manager
Blackburn remain on the hunt for a new manager

Blackburn Rovers have finally made an appointment.

No, they haven’t yet found Tony Mowbray’s replacement, but they have made an exciting acquisition in Gregg Broughton as their Director of Football.

“He will work closely with our new Head Coach (once confirmed), myself and the Board by developing a clear future vision and strategy for our football operations, using the solid platform built over the last five years,” revealed Rovers CEO Steve Waggott in a statement on Wednesday.

Rovers have previously been idle in what has so far been a frustrating and seemingly directionless managerial search, meaning top-rated names such as Daniel Farke (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Carlos Carvalhal (Al Wahda FC) have since been snapped up. However, the arrival of Broughton should, hopefully, inject impetus into the head coach recruitment process, which feels like it’s been going on for years.

We’ve had an updated gander at the manager market, honing in on a trio of contenders for the Ewood Park post, while you can have an in-depth read on another candidate, Duncan Ferguson, in the link below…

Kjetil Knutsen

Within moments of Broughton’s appointment as DoF, the odds on Kjetil Knutsen joining him at Rovers were slashed from 25/1 to around the 4/1 mark, making the Norwegian one of the favourites for the post. The duo worked together at Bodø/Glimt, so many fans will be hoping that Broughton can lure Knutsen over to Lancashire - likely to be a tough task.

Broughton previously told the Training Ground Guru podcast: "That ability to work in the present has probably been the biggest competitive advantage we have had. Our head coach, Kjetil Knutsen, is an absolute master at it. He refuses to look past the next game and training session. He absolutely lives that mantra every day. And it’s a vital part of youth development."

If his name rings a bell it’s because Knutsen is the manager who inflicted the heaviest defeat of Jose Mourino’s career: a 6-1 spanking in the Europa Conference League last season, a competition Mourinho’s Roma would actually go on to win.

The job Knutsen has done at record-breaking Bodø/Glimt has been super impressive. Since taking charge in 2018, he’s led his troops to their first ever Norwegian title, successfully defended the crown, and reached the Europa Conference League quarter-finals; beating Celtic en-route.

He’s created a winning culture and moulded together an exciting team full of ambition. Promoting and developing homegrown talent has been a key ingredient to his success, while he employs a high-intensity and high-press style of football.

The in-demand Knutsen was linked with a move into the Premier League last season with Norwich and Burnley, but has remained at Bodø/Glimt. He’s definitely an exciting name in the mix, but whether Rovers can persuade him to instigate a new era is another matter. 

Ronny Deila

Another new addition - and another Norwegian - in the upper echelon of the market is former Celtic boss Ronny Deila (5/2, BetVictor), who has been in charge of New York City since 2020.

Deila won the MLS Cup last year - check out his celebration below - won the league and cup double at Celtic followed by another title triumph, and previously fired homeland side Strømsgodset to their first top tier title in 43 years. He did, however, have an underwhelming spell at Vålerenga prior to jetting over to the Big Apple, while he was often criticised for being tactically naive at Celtic.

Deila will be well known to Broughton given his achievements at Strømsgodset and it’s already been reported - but not confirmed - that he was interviewed by Rovers (according to journalist Stian Andre de Wahl). It’s worth noting that he’s also being linked with a move to Belgian side Standard Liege.

Liam Manning

Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth has been in the betting from the get-go - surely an appointment would have happened by now? - while Paul Warne’s odds were suddenly cut earlier this week, although the Rotherham manager appears to have played down speculation.

If Blackburn are in fact pondering a move for an employed EFL manager then Liam Manning could feature prominently on their radar. A tempting outsider in the betting at 25/1, 36-year-old Manning impressed in his first season at MK Dons; finishing 3rd with a club record win percentage (53.7%).

Manning’s impact and style of play would catch the attention of Championship side QPR job, but a move never came to fruition, with the Rs appointing Steven Gerrard’s assistant Michael Beale from Aston Villa.

Rovers could well favour a more experienced head at the helm, but Manning’s future is bright and it’s surely only a matter of time until he’s employed in the Championship.

Full odds below...

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