Neil Harris latest odds-on favourite for Gillingham, but will he take the job?
Since Steve Evans left Priestfield three weeks ago we've seen Colchester, Oldham, Watford, and Hull all make new managerial appointments. Even Everton now look set to reveal their new boss.
Yet, as Saturday’s trip to Oxford draws closer, Gillingham remain without a permanent manager at the helm. In truth, they don’t appear close to finding a replacement for Evans.
However, that’s no real surprise to fans given the comments of chairman, Paul Scally, who earlier this week revealed he's in no rush...
"I am not one to rush these type of decisions, I carefully consider all avenues, speak to the appropriate people and, ultimately, make a decision which is in the bests interests of the Football Club.
"By the time you read these notes, I may well have made my choice but, if not, we will communicate anything as soon as we can.
"Rest assured, I want to get this right, and if that means taking one or two more days, so be it."
Five points and zero wins from 13 games coupled with the fact the club are nine points adrift of safety, suggests that Scally should be in somewhat of a rush.
It’s also now been three days since his aforementioned update, during which the Gills appear to have had another setback.
Former Waterford boss Marc Bircham was a slim 1/4 earlier this week before betting was suspended, yet he now appears to be out of the running according to @footyinsider247. He reportedly held talks but is no longer interested.
We’re not privy to inside information, so this could be a case of ‘fake news’. Who knows.
What we do know is Gillingham previously held talks with Bromley boss Andy Woodman (16/1), who is now focusing on his side’s push for promotion up to League Two.
Steve Lovell (5/2) is caretaker manager with one point from three games to date. Add another seven games to that tally and he will ‘win’ the market.
The betting market reopened on Thursday, yet again, and there’s now a new favourite for the job: Former Cardiff and Millwall manager Neil Harris, who leads the way at just 1/2.
It’s a surprisingly short price to be honest. Whether there’s anything concrete behind his sudden move to the top of the market, we’ll have to wait and see.
Harris is available for hire. He has been for a year now. But this is a manager who as recently as 2020 led Cardiff to 5th in the Championship. Before his spell in Wales he took Millwall to back-to-back League One play-off finishes, winning promotion at the second attempt. Just before Christmas he was linked with League One big guns Ipswich.
Like many out-of-work managers, Harris is no doubt chomping at the bit to return to the dugout.
But if a non-league manager (Woodman) and a manager with one spell in Ireland on his CV (Bircham) don’t want the job, would a Championship-play-off-reaching boss such as Harris be keen to throw himself into a League One relegation dogfight?
After all, this is a club who are second from bottom, they haven’t tasted a win in over 100 days, and are now priced at just 1/12 to be relegated from League One.
Harris does, however, have a link to Gillingham having spent the 2005/06 season on-loan from Nottingham Forest. There are still 19 games to play and while bridging a nine-point gap is a huge task, it’s not impossible. Perhaps a short-term deal until the end of the season could be on the cards?
Whatever happens, with the transfer window deadline rapidly approaching, Gillingham need to act fast.