New favourite emerges for Gillingham job after Andy Woodman talks dissipate
Gillingham are in dire straits.
Rooted to the bottom of League One and 10 points adrift of safety, the club simply can’t buy a win: the last of which came 99 days ago back in October.
Since then they’ve picked up four points from a possible 36 on offer, and parted ways with manager Steve Evans, whose departure stretches back nearly three weeks.
The club’s sluggish search for a replacement rambles on with no sign of a conclusion.
Former Gills boss Steve Lovell is currently overseeing the first team but has been unable to lift the club results-wise, losing both games so far which has dropped them from 22nd to 24th in the table.
Something needs to happen soon, otherwise the Gills are going to meekly exit the third-tier.
The betting market has now reopened following the comments from Bromley boss Andy Woodman who over the weekend distanced himself from the League One vacancy.
"It’s dragged on a little bit and I think sometimes in life when things drag on a little bit you know it’s not the right thing,” he said after the 2-1 win at Grimsby.
“So my focus is in Bromley, and that’s where it’s going to be."
Woodman had emerged as the hot favourite after Bromley reluctantly granted Gillingham permission to speak to him, however it now appears that discussions hit a dead end.
As a result we now have a brand new favourite leading the way in the betting, Marc Bircham, who is priced at just 1/2 (Bet Victor) to replace Evans.
In the lead-up to Christmas Bircham was linked to both the Oldham and Ipswich jobs, but nothing came of it. Oldham have since appointed John Sheridan (again), while the Tractor Boys opted for Man Utd coach Kieran McKenna.
talkSPORT’s Ian Abrahams added fuel to the rumours that Bircham could be appointed at Gillingham after he tweeted on Monday that the former Canada international had met with Gills chairman Paul Scally to discuss the vacancy at Priestfield.
Given the club's perilous position it's a tough gig for any manager, especially one without any EFL managerial experience on his CV.
Bircham has previously worked in various assistant and coaching positions at QPR, Millwall, Chicago Fire and Arizona United, while he also has experience of managing in a relegation battle, albeit over in Ireland.
Bircham spent 29 games in charge of Waterford last year, a club that were rock-bottom upon his appointment. They improved under his management, only for the club to controversially sack him just days before their crunch relegation play-off. He’s since come out and said that he was axed because he refused to play the owners’ son.
Meanwhile, former Bromley boss Neil Smith still features in the betting at 6/1 alongside caretaker Lovell, former Millwall manager Neil Harris, and the aforementioned Woodman.
Luke Garrard and Michael Flynn are 25/1 outsiders, while a multitude of managers are out at 33/1 including Sol Campbell, Nigel Adkins and Jonathan Woodgate.
You feel that the longer the search goes on, the more likely that Lovell will remain in place until the end of the season, although it goes without saying that he needs a win or two first. He’s managed two games so far and if he reaches double figures it will count as a winner in the next manager market.
Gillingham can currently be backed at 5/1 to stay up, while they are next in action on Tuesday night at home to 18th-placed Shrewsbury.