Five contenders to replace Graham Alexander at Scunthorpe United

by Gabriel Sutton / 26 March 2018, 08:44

Graham Alexander was dismissed as Scunthorpe boss over the weekend.

While some sympathy must always be given to a manager when they lose their job, it is understandable that Peter Swann and the board came to the decision they did.

The Iron, although still in the top-6, had shown few signs of getting their second win since New Years' Day and their performances would have been difficult to accept for a side battling relegation, let alone one with a top six budget.

Who should replace Alexander in the Next Scunthorpe Manager Market? Here are five candidates.

Steve Cotterill

Why he should get the job:

The last League One match Steve Cotterill managed was an 8-2 win over Walsall for his Bristol City side, for whom centre-back Aden Flint scored three goals including one spectacular rabona.

That goal – and that game – epitomized the high standards Cotterill set during the season itself, as the Robins not only won the JPT and title double, they established themselves as one of the greatest, most innovative third-tier teams of all time.

The possession football in a fluid, 3-5-2 system that Cotterill implemented at Ashton Gate would be well-received at Glanford Park, where supporters grew tired of the style of football under Graham Alexander.

Why he shouldn’t:

The 53-year-old perhaps isn’t universally respected in the game and would need to learn from his time at Birmingham City. While fan criticisms of a lack of passion weren’t necessarily accurate, part of a manager’s job is to speak in a way that exudes confidence: Cotterill’s handling of fans and media in that regard could be questioned.

He also tended to pick defensive players in attacking positions, which might partly explain why Blues scored just 16 goals in 24 games under him.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

While it might be tempting to appoint Cotterill based on the work he did at Bristol City, his reputation has suffered recently and the board may be better off looking at other options.

Nick Daws

Why he should get the job:

When Nick Daws and Andy Dawson took charge of a team led by Stephen Dawson, results certainly opened some doors for Scunthorpe. The League One outfit were as low as 16th when Daws assumed responsibilities in January 2016, having just lost 5-0 at Blackpool – who incidentally were relegated that year as the division’s lowest scorers.

Such defensive incompetence didn’t last long under the former midfielder, who oversaw just seven goals conceded in 11 games, which brought about 20 points. While Alexander took plenty of credit for the subsequent surge towards seventh – and a late but fruitless tilt at the play-offs – Daws helped shut the back door.

Why he shouldn’t:

There is an element of risk in appointing any manager who has taken charge of just 11 games previously. It could be questioned too, whether Daws would have the external contacts to make a success of his first transfer window if he stayed beyond May.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

Daws is already a popular figure and would bring unity at a crucial stage – we think the board should give him a chance.

Grant McCann

Why he should get the job:

Some Scunthorpe fans regard Grant McCann, who played 102 games in midfield for the club, to be one of the most talented midfielders they’ve seen wear the shirt in recent history.

That respect would be a fair starting point and the Northern Irishman was also well-liked at Peterborough, where he was dismissed with the team very much in contention for the play-off places. A 40% win ratio at the ABAX represents a reasonable first job in management and McCann has the ingredients to improve as his career progresses.

Why he shouldn’t:

Some might question the message it would send out were Swann to appoint a manager who was sacked by a team below Scunthorpe in the league. There were suggestions too, that McCann was too lenient with Posh players. Were he to be appointed, he would need an assistant who excels at man management, as Chris Lucketti did for Scunthorpe prior to his January departure.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

McCann’s more controlled tactics might help get more out of the talent in the squad and if he learns from one or two things, he could be a good appointment.

Uwe Rosler

Why he should get the job:

There is a sense among Scunthorpe fans that they are ready for fresh ideas and Uwe Rosler would provide that, as well as a competitive record, with three of his last four managerial stints leading to a top six finish.

The former Man City player took Brentford to third in League One in 2012/13, leaving behind him a squad that came within three games of the Premier League in the subsequent two years.

Rosler then inherited an out-of-form, midtable Wigan outfit, whom he took to the Championship play-offs via the FA Cup semi-finals. Last season, the German took charge of Fleetwood Town within a week of the opening day, taking them to the League One play-offs with fluid, possession football.

Such methods are scarcely seen at Glanford Park this season but it is not hard to imagine Rosler getting the best out of technical, silky-footed wide men such as Duane Holmes and Josh Morris.

Why he shouldn’t:

Mixed in with the above successes are the way Rosler’s time at previous clubs ended. He was sacked at Wigan and Fleetwood with those two clubs in serious relegation danger while his spell at Leeds was uninspiring, even if Massimo Cellino’s presence didn’t help.

There are suggestions that the 49-year-old’s stubborn allegiance to keep ball isn’t always compatible with pragmatism, especially when results go awry.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

Rosler has achieved some good things, but we’re not convinced this would be the right fit.

Stuart McCall

Why he should get the job:

Stuart McCall will know how to get the best out of Rory McArdle, who was excellent at centre-back for Bradford last season. He also encourages his full-backs to contribute offensively, which might mean an end to the experiment with Neal Bishop and Murray Wallace out of position.

Many fans disagreed with McCall’s dismissal at Bradford, where he retains the respect of many first teamers – there could be a few players who might want to be re-united with their former boss.

Why he shouldn’t:

The previous season’s play-off finalists don't suffer six straight defeats, as Bradford did under McCall, unless something goes badly wrong. While most believed that something to be a lack of investment, McCall’s sceptics suggest that his likable demeanour is not exclusively a good thing and perhaps the Scot was more trusting in certain players than their performances merited. This season he was, perhaps, too slow to make changes – and to shake his squad out of their slumber.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

McCall’s main advantage at Bradford was his natural affinity with the club, but here he would have to build that from scratch – we reckon Scunthorpe should look elsewhere.

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