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Next Blackpool Manager Odds: Ian Evatt, Michael Carrick, Tam Courts, Mark Warburton all linked

Bolton boss Ian Evatt has emerged as one of the early favourites for the Blackpool job
Bolton boss Ian Evatt has emerged as one of the early favourites for the Blackpool job

Blackpool are reluctantly searching for a new manager following last week’s departure of Neil Critchley, who unexpectedly left the Championship club to become Steven Gerrard’s assistant manager at Aston Villa.

Fans will still be trying to digest the shock news which came about after Michael Beale left Villa in order to pursue his own managerial career at QPR.

Critchley has subsequently been reunited with Gerrard, with whom he previously worked with at Liverpool’s academy. “Neil was my number one choice when looking for a new assistant head coach,” Gerrard has said. “He is a fantastic coach who I have obviously worked with before and know his qualities.”

But while Gerrard has bolstered his coaching staff through the addition of Critchley, Blackpool have lost an excellent manager.

Not only did Critchley propel Blackpool back up to the Championship in his first full season, he went on to consolidate their position in the second-tier through a 16th-placed finish. He understood the club and the fans, developed players, and was on a long-term contract to 2026.  

It really was a surprise when Aston Villa tweeted that Critchley had swapped jobs, but the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of football means that Blackpool must now buckle down and find a suitable successor. “Our primary focus now turns to succession planning and making the best possible appointment to continue taking this great Club of ours forward,” the club said in a statement.

So, who could that be?

Next Blackpool Manager Odds

It’s another talented young manager in Ian Evatt who has been installed as the early favourite in the betting.

Evatt, a best-priced 4/1 with William Hill, is well known to all at Blackpool, a club he spent seven years at as a player during which he enjoyed promotions from League One up to the Premier League.

Evatt, 40, has since enjoyed a cracking start to life in management; leading Barrow into League Two, then Bolton into League One, which was followed by a 9th place finish last season.

It’s no surprise to see Evatt hotly linked with the Blackpool opening given his association to the Tangerines coupled with his early success in the dugout. Should he switch jobs, it would represent a rapid rise up the English league ladder, with Evatt managing in the National League as recently as 2020.

Football Tips

Evatt isn’t the only League One manager who Blackpool may be eyeing up.

There’s Michael Duff (4/1) who has done a fantastic job on a small budget in leading Cheltenham to the League Two title then 15th last term, Mark Bonner at Cambridge, Oxford’s Karl Robinson (12/1) was previously on Blackpool’s radar in 2020, while MK Dons boss Liam Manning (25/1) has already attracted interest this summer from QPR. 

Each could prove to be exciting options for the Seasiders, who could well be after someone of a similar ilk to the talented Critchley. With that in mind, the ambitious Tam Courts could be an option. The 8/1 shot has won praise for completely transforming Dundee United; a side he fired to 4th, qualification into Europe, and the quarter-finals of both domestic cups last season.

Blackpool previously gave Critchley his first crack at senior management, perhaps they could do the same for former Man Utd caretaker and coach Michael Carrick (8/1) who has been no stranger in next manager markets since the close of the season. He may have a lack of outright managerial experience, but Carrick's profile, coaching, and contacts book could make him a tempting one to contemplate.

Similarly, David Unsworth (25/1) is seeking his first opportunity after leading Everton, whereas Stoke assistant - and former Oldham and Bristol City boss - Dean Holden (20/1) is under consideration according to talkSPORT football correspondent Alex Crook.

Dave Challinor (12/1) has two promotions up to League Two in two seasons with Hartlepool and most recently Stockport, leading the latter to the title last month. 

Michael Carrick has already featured in multiple manager markets this summer
Michael Carrick has already featured in multiple manager markets this summer

More experienced options include the now out-of-work duo of Tony Mowbray (8/1) and Mark Warburton (25/1) who left Blackburn and QPR respectively at the end of the season. 

It’s fair to say that Michael Appleton (16/1) is a completely different manager to the one that had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 12 match stint in charge of Blackpool 10 years ago. He’s since enjoyed impressive spells at Oxford and Lincoln, and could be one to keep an eye on given he’s once again available for hire.

Another former Blackpool boss, Simon Grayson, is as short as 5/2 (BetVictor) - 12/1 with William Hill - to return to Bloomfield Road for a third spell. He may have been successful in his first spell - winning promotion to the Championship - but his second spell during the 2019/20 season lasted all of 38 games, meaning it would be a huge shock if the club came knocking at his door once again.

Scroll down for the full odds market, while you can check out the early results of our next Blackpool manager poll right here.

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