5 leading candidates to replace Stuart McCall at Bradford

by Gabriel Sutton / 05 February 2018, 15:05

There are a number of Bradford City fans who feel Stuart McCall, whose sacking was announced on Monday morning, was hard done by.

Given the cut-throat nature of the modern game, it is a sign of the connection the Scot had with those fans that they were sad to see him leave, even after a six-game losing streak.

McCall's exit won't necessarily end the problems at Valley Parade, of which recruitment is arguably one, but it is vital the club gets this next appointment right to build bridges with supporters.

Here are the five leading candidates to become the Next Bradford Manager.

Simon Grayson

Why he should get the job:

For starters, the 48-year-old has an impeccable promotion record at this level. He has already guided Blackpool, Huddersfield, Leeds and Preston to the Championship: the first two clubs typically have smaller attendances than Bradford while the Lilywhites had been at the bottom end of League One when he took over.

Jordan Hugill, Alan Browne, Joe Garner, Sam Johnstone, Ben Pearson, Bailey Wright and Josh Brownhill – who have all performed well in the Championship recently – are all arguably better players for having played under Grayson, who already has roots in Yorkshire.

Why he shouldn’t:

At previous clubs, Grayson has been the dominant figure who was given the backing from the board to do everything his way – including recruitment. Here, co-chairman Edin Rahic has controlled the players that come into the club; the German has often favoured young players but Grayson would want to ensure there’s an experienced core. There could be a conflict of interests here.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

While Grayson would be a good appointment, it’s hard to see the board compromising their approach.

Hannes Wolf

Why he should get the job:

David Wagner and Daniel Farke – well-respected figures at Huddersfield and Norwich respectively – landed Championship jobs solely off the back of their success with Borussia Dortmund II. Not only has Hannes Wolf experienced success with their reserves and youth side, he has also done well in senior football, guiding VfB Stuttgart to the Bundesliga last season before leaving the club this term, a decision many fans feel was harsh. Interestingly, where did Rahic study business economics? Stuttgart…

Why he shouldn’t:

Wolf’s critics suggest he employs an overly defensive style of play: no side in the Bundesliga has scored fewer goals than Stuttgart this term. Paul Taylor is a technically gifted forward while winger Alex Gilliead, who is hoping to return from injury soon, is a powerful runner – it would be a shame to waste those players and others by hoofing it.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

The Wolf could be at the door if he is willing to tweak his tactical style; it’s easy to imagine him both knowing the Bradford owners and accepting the terms they set.

Richie Wellens

Why he should get the job:

28 points from 22 games represents an impressive return for Richie Wellens as manager of Oldham Athletic, who had looked like relegation bankers after winning just one and drawing one of their first nine. The 37-year-old has proved a fine developer of technical talent, as proved by the quality of some of the goals the Latics have scored this term and could re-energize the club. The job would also appeal to Wellens: it's better to be the chosen one of a current regime than to be part of the existing furniture for a new one.

Why he shouldn’t:

Oldham remain in the relegation zone under the tutelage of Wellens, who has failed to address their defensive issues and remains surprisingly loyal to an unpredictably Rene Higuita-like goalkeeper in Johnny Placide. For a rookie boss who has barely hung up their boots, managing the weight of expectation at a club like Bradford would be a big ask.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

He has shown glimpses of managerial talent, but the Bradford gig this early in his career might be a bridge too far.

Steve McClaren

Why he should get the job:

A man that doesn’t always get the respect he deserves. Had an influence on Manchester United’s ’99 treble win as an assistant, led Middlesbrough to some memorable UEFA Cup runs, guided FC Twente to a historic title win and turned Derby from a youthful midtable side to one that was denied promotion only by a play-off final mugging. The 56-year-old is normally willing to work as a head coach rather than a manager and has achieved some good things in the game.

Why he shouldn’t:

McClaren’s struggles in high-profile jobs like England and Newcastle means that from a fans perspective, there is a stigma attached to him that would be hard to shake off were the team to suffer a bad run. There are question marks about whether the York-born boss is ruthless enough with his players when he needs to be, which is a problem that arguably cost McCall his job.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

Would tick a lot of boxes for Bradford and were he to be appointed, he could surprise a few people.

Brian McDermott

Why he should get the job:

Took Reading to the Premier League as Championship title winners with limited funds as recently as 2012 and a couple of years later, he had Leeds in play-off contention. Played a part in the development of current Premier League stars Gylfi Sigurdsson and Shane Long and appeared to relish working with youth, which bodes well with Bradford’s young squad.

Why he shouldn’t:

McDermott’s second spell at Reading was far less successful than his first, with Matej Vydra, now flying at Derby, starved of service. The 56-year-old hasn’t been a leading contender for any other jobs in the 19-months since he left Berkshire, nor does he have roots in Yorkshire or an obvious connection with Bradford’s owners.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

It’s hard to see this one happening and there may be better options out there.

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