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Updated look at the next Cheltenham manager search

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Managers making moves within England’s league ladder has very much been the norm so far this summer.

Rob Edwards switched Forest Green Rovers for Watford shortly after winning the League Two title, to then be replaced by Notts County’s Ian Burchnall. Neil Critchley vacated the top job at Blackpool to become Steven Gerrard’s assistant at Aston Villa. Ben Garner swapped Swindon for Charlton, and Pete Wild traded FC Halifax Town for Barrow.

Cheltenham have also been victims of this trend after the club lost their highly-rated and transformative manager Michael Duff to Barnsley, who will be joining the Robins in League One next season following their relegation from the Championship.

Next Cheltenham Manager Odds

Cheltenham are subsequently hunting for a new boss for the first time in four years. They’ll be determined not to rush the process as they bid to recruit the right candidate, but will be all too aware that the new season is now just over five weeks away, while their first pre-season friendly kicks-off on 2nd July.

The opening is certainly an exciting opportunity. Cheltenham are very much on an upward trajectory following their League Two title triumph in 2021, then 15th last term; their highest-ever league finish, and a sizeable 16 points above the relegation zone. They’ll now want to progress further and target a top-half finish in 2022/23.

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Pre-season training is already underway, Duff’s now former assistant Russell Milton is spearheading proceedings as caretaker manager - a role he’s held three times in the past - and will be supported by first team coach Wade Elliott

It goes without saying that whoever replaces Duff has gigantic shoes to fill and its Elliott who currently leads the next Cheltenham manager odds market at evens with BetVictor. Should the former Bristol City and Stoke coach be eager to step up and become head coach then surely he's being, or has already been, interviewed for the post. 

It would be a pretty seamless transition in terms of continuity as he knows the squad inside-out, is unlikely to stray away from Duff’s successful model, and will have the backing of many fans.

Five names in the frame to replace Michael Duff at Cheltenham

How do you follow that? Michael Duff’s long and happy association with Cheltenham Town started when he was spotted by scout Derek Bragg for his performances at youth level for Carterton in 1996, and ended with him delivering…

In truth, if Cheltenham do look for an external appointment it’s difficult to see the club opting for any of the other names that immediately follow in the betting.

Chris Beech looks far too short for my liking at 2/1. His first, and only, job to date was in League Two at Carlisle, where he inspired a push for promotion before falling to 10th in his only full season. He was then was sacked last October after a poor start.

Paul Tisdale, 14/1, offers buckets of experience, although his last two managerial jobs consist of a 19-game stint at Bristol Rovers, followed by a 21-game spell at Stevenage last season. A leap back into League One at a club on the rise seems remote.

However, the 25/1 priced David Artell possesses League One experience, is available for hire, and has a reputation for developing young players. Meanwhile, former Posh boss Darren Ferguson (also 25/1) has five promotions on his resume, including three up to the Championship. They are certainly two names to keep an eye on.

Cheltenham’s 10 Football League Managers

  • Steve Cotterill
  • Graham Allner
  • Bobby Gould
  • John Ward
  • Keith Downing
  • Martin Allen
  • Mark Yates
  • Paul Buckle
  • Gary Johnson
  • Michael Duff

Perhaps, Cheltenham are looking for a talented young coach who has built up experience from working within a top-flight club, potentially as an U23s boss, such was the case with Duff at Burnley. 

One such target could be Mark Delaney - hotly linked with the Swindon job - who is available after leaving his post at Aston Villa U23s; a club he spent 15 years at; developing a host of young players including current first-teamer Jacob Ramsey. 

Andrew Crofts has caught the eye at Brighton (U23s), then there’s former Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy at the helm of Man City’s Elite Development Squad who won Premier League 2 last term.

Alternatively, David Unsworth is pursuing a career in management after leaving Everton, while Luke Tisdale (14/1) has just left his post as Coventry U23s head coach.

How about an upcoming non-league coach such as Boreham Wood’s Luke Garrard, who has long been linked with a move into the EFL. He only recently signed a new deal, but turning down a League One job would be difficult!

Alternatively, former Cheltenham midfielder Russell Penn is impressing at Kidderminster, with whom he nearly led to a stunning upset over West Ham in the FA Cup last season. Although, a move would represent quite the jump up the league ladder.

 Full odds below...

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