Odds shown as:

Three EFL managers set for blockbuster breakout seasons

Rob Edwards is the new head coach of Forest Green Rovers
Rob Edwards is the new head coach of Forest Green Rovers

We saw a number of Football League managers enjoy blockbuster breakthrough seasons in 2020/21. 

There was our EFL Manager of the Season, Valerien Ismael, who propelled Barnsley from the relegation zone to the brink of the Premier League. In his first full season in senior management Neil Critchley elevated Blackpool into the Championship, and Mark Bonner led boyhood club Cambridge to automatic promotion up to the third-tier.

With the new EFL season now just days away, we’ve picked out three managers from the three divisions who have the potential to conjure up something truly special.

Let’s go!

League Two: Rob Edwards (Forest Green Rovers)

We’ve become accustomed to seeing League Two clubs provided a platform for young coaches to thrive. Mark Bonner led Cambridge to promotion last season, Richie Wellens lifted the title with Swindon in 2019/20, while Ryan Lowe bagged back-to-back promotions with both Bury and Plymouth.

Who could be next to sparkle on the talented young manager conveyor belt?

Step forward Rob Edwards, the Forest Green Rovers head coach.

It will be the first time in five years that Rovers kick-off a season with a new manager at the helm, and the fact that the club secured the appointment early doors (May) means that the 38-year-old has had time to adjust to his new surroundings as he looks to stamp his blueprint upon the club.

“I want to bring an exciting, attacking brand of football that’s good to watch but obviously we’ve got to try and win games,” he said upon his appointment.

Edwards also spoke about the intensity he wants his side to operate at, taking risks, controlling the ball in the opposition's half, and the employment of a high-press. While the early signs show he could be set to adopt a fluid 3-4-1-2 formation.

The highly-rated young coach attracted attention following his dual role as England U16s boss and U20s Assistant for the FA, and was previously an in-possession and out-of-possession specialist coach in the national set-up.

Edwards coached Wolves U18s, was first team coach with their seniors, then spearheaded the U23s to promotion from PL2 Division 2 for the first time in their history. He also spent an invaluable year as manager of Telford United.

League Two Winner Odds

Forest Green will provide Edwards with an ideal environment to hone his managerial skillset, develop young players, and push for promotion at a club that’s reached the play-offs in two of the last three seasons.

Chairman Dale Vince has spoken of the “sports science and analytics” elements that Edwards and his assistant Richie Kyle bring to the table, whereas Football Director Richard Hughes spoke positively about Edwards’ “great coaching pedigree” and “progressive views for the future of the game.”

Exciting times ahead for both club and manager.

- League Two title odds: 14/1

- Promotion Odds: 10/3

League One: Leam Richardson (Wigan)

Leam Richardson did an absolutely incredible job in incredibly turbulent circumstances last term.

For large parts of the season it looked like the troubled Latics would be relegated down to League Two. They were reeling from the 12-point deduction which resulted in their demotion from the Championship, they were in administration, under a transfer embargo, players were pinched, the training ground was sold, Paul Cook left, then John Sheridan ditched the club in November after just 15 games.

It was caretaker Richardson who was left to pick up the pieces. He kept Wigan in the league thanks to his mindset, courage, grit, and work ethic.

Now the club’s permanent manager, the ambitious 41-year-old is a dark horse to orchestrate a play-off charge.

An almost inescapable feeling of gloom dominated the club last summer but this has since been replaced by splashes of optimism thanks to Richardson’s managerial magic wand, cracking new signings, and the takeover of Phoenix 21 which hopefully brings stability.

Among the new recruits is goal-machine Charlie Wyke, on a free transfer from Sunderland, who was runner-up in the League One goalscoring charts last season with 26 goals. “I’ve been speaking to the club for a few weeks and from the day I met the manager, I knew this was the club I wanted to play for,” revealed the striker. 

Richardson’s achievements went somewhat under the managerial radar last season, but now in far more favourable circumstances he has the chance to elevate his already heroic status at Wigan to glorious new heights, and in the process gain the widespread external plaudits he deserves.

League One title odds: 12/1

Promotion odds: 4/1

Championship: Russell Martin (Swansea)

When we originally penned this piece, Russell Martin featured as manager of MK Dons; a club he substantially improved since his appointment in November 2019, to the point that we were backing the 35-year-old to inspire a play-off push this season.

Then, boom. Managerless Swansea set their sights on Martin, made an approach, then unveiled him as their new boss over the weekend. MK Dons have understandably been left deflated at the turn of events - here's a look at the contenders for the vacancy - whereas the Swans will feel they’ve found the ideal candidate to follow in the footsteps of Graham Potter and Steve Cooper.

Martin caught the eye after transforming a relegation-threatened Dons side into a progressive, entertaining outfit with a concrete identity and buckets of potential.

He’ll now look to make his mark in the Championship, which is an obvious step up for a manager still in the early stages of his career. Both pressure and expectations will increase, yet Martin has the belief, confidence in his methods, and determination to be a success at the Liberty Stadium.

READ: Russell Martin on his playing style, vision, identity, and Graham Potter

Despite leading the Swans to consecutive play-off finishes - and the final last season - Cooper’s side often lacked panache and his in-game management was questioned at times. New face Martin will bid to ramp up the entertainment factor and inject a bit of flair.

“I am looking forward to giving them a team that excites them, that they enjoy. I want to watch our team from the side of the pitch and enjoy it, otherwise what’s the point?

“I don’t want to be involved in anything that I don’t enjoy, and that includes watching our own team.

“I want to give the fans a team they can be proud of and identify with. A team that looks the same everywhere we go, be it at the Liberty Stadium or away from home. It will be a team that gives them everything they have got.”

Challenges undoubtedly lie ahead for Martin given that Swansea’s parachute payments have stopped while Andre Ayew, Marc Guehi and Freddie Woodman have all left the club. Captain Matt Grimes could also be set to depart.

Martin will need to strengthen his squad and his style may take time to implement given that he’s had less than a week to prepare for the opening fixture.

Swansea may not be expected to compete with the big guns and hot promotion favourites, but after announcing himself at MK Dons last season Martin looks like an ideal fit at the Liberty Stadium. He’s said all the right things, now he’ll be determined to prove that he can deliver.

Championship title odds: 25/1

Promotion Odds: 7/1

Advert Disclaimer
Bettingodds.com is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Bettingodds.com accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.
Bet £10 On Football & Get £40 In Free Bets + £10 Bonus
#AD £/€10 deposit using promo code "10FREE" - Minimum stake £/€10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager the bonus amount 40 times within 14 days • Casino Bonus expires after 60 days - Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & full T&Cs apply
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
#Ad. 18+ Playsafe. New customers using promo code M40 only. 1x per customer. Min £/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets of 2 x £/€15 issued after first qualifying bet settles. Max £/€10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable bonus: £25. Casino bonus expires after 72 hours. UK & Eire only. Additional T&Cs, including free-bet, game, location, payment method and stake contributions apply. See full terms below 18+ begambleaware.org
£20 Risk Free Bet - Refunded In CASH On Losing Bets (APP Only)
#AD New customers only. Deposit £20 using card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply
Welcome Offer
#AD Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code ‘100BET365’ can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. 18+ begambleaware.org.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets + 100 Free Spins
#AD 18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus 100 Free Spins, no wagering. Free Bets and Spins expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. Please gamble responsibly.
Bet £10 Get £30 + 30 Free Spins
#AD New UK & NI customers only. Promo code SPORTS60. Deposit and place first sports bet of £10+ in one transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0)+, settled within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 30 Free Spins on Blue Wizard at £0.10 per spin. 7-day expiry. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £20 & Get It Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Get Up To £100 In Free Bets
#AD New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD. New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org. 18+
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD Min stake £10. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Online UK customers only. 30 days to qualify for £20 in Free Bets. 18+. T&Cs apply

Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets + 100 Free Spins

#AD 18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus 100 Free Spins, no wagering. Free Bets and Spins expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. Please gamble responsibly.

Bet £10 On Football & Get £50 In Free Bets

#Ad. 18+. Play safe. New customers using promo code M50 only. 1x per customer. Min £/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets of 2 x £/€20 issued after first qualifying bet settles. Max £/€10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable bonus: £25. Casino bonus expires after 72 hours. UK & Eire only. Additional T&Cs, including free-bet, game, location, payment method and stake contributions apply. See full terms below. 18+ begambleaware.org

Bet £10 On Football & Get £60 In Free Bets

#Ad. 18+ Playsafe. New Customer offer. Place a pre-match £10 bet on any Football market (October 21st - October 27th), at min. odds 1/2 (1.5) — get £60 in free bets. Your qualifying bet must settle by Wednesday 23:59, 27th October. Only deposits via Cards will qualify (Apple Pay not valid on this promotion). Free bets will be awarded after the qualifying bet has been settled £40 on bet settlement + £20 the following day. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org

Bet £5 On The Premier League & Get £20 In Free Football Bets

#Ad. 18+ Playsafe. Bet £5 on the Sportsbook, get £20 in Free Bets. Min odds 2.0 (EVS). Debit Cards only. ApplePay excluded. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org