Next Blackpool Manager: Paul Heckingbottom and Ian Evatt in the mix to replace Simon Grayson

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 12 February 2020, 18:30

Simon Grayson became 2020's first managerial victim of the League One Sack Race after Blackpool relieved him of his duties on Wednesday afternoon, via a short statement on their website.

Grayson, appointed in July, had enjoyed a bright start upon his return to the Tangerines, having previously led the club to promotion up to the Championship back in 2007. 

However, since mid-December when Grayson’s troops were 4th, Blackpool have endured a shocking run of form during which they’ve managed to carve out only the one win in 12 games, which has seen them slip out of promotion contention down to 15th; 13 points adrift of the play-offs.

Owner Simon Sadler subsequently decided a change was needed, and so the club open up the search for a fourth manager in just over 18 months.

Speculation is brewing as to who the manager will be to step in and replace Grayson, with Paul Heckingbottom emerging as the early odds-on favourite in the next Blackpool manager market.

It’s been over three months since Heckingbottom, who is as short as 1/3 with Bet Victor, left his position at Hibernian, a post which followed a stint at Leeds, and a successful two-year spell at Barnsley with whom he led up to the Championship and to Football League trophy glory.

Also in the mix is Ian Evatt, the former Blackpool skipper who under the tutorship of Ian Holloway helped lead the club from League One up to the Premier League. 

He’s since jumped into the managerial arena himself and is currently enjoying success with Barrow who top the National League by four points.

Should his ex-club come calling it would be interesting to see if the boss is tempted to make the leap up two divisions back to his old stomping ground.

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Paul Heckingbottom has emerged as the early favourite for the job

Another familiar face that features in the betting at this early stage of proceedings is Gary Bowyer, who steered Blackpool into League One in 2017, which was followed by a top-half finish the following season, before he abruptly left the club just one game into the 2018/19 campaign.

Bowyer would go on to manage Bradford but is currently available after parting ways earlier this month.

Regular readers of The Sack Race won’t be surprised to see that Paul Tisdale and Neil Warnock are once again in the mix for another Football League job. Both bosses have featured in numerous League Two markets this year but for whatever reason nothing has come of it. Could this change now a third-tier job is up for grabs?

Former Stoke and Luton boss Nathan Jones (16/1) is another name in the frame, as is Blackpool's iconic former manager Ian Holloway, although unfortunately for many fans a return for the latter is unlikely given that he’s now at Grimsby Town.

Sergio Lobera, a former Barcelona assistant is a name that’s also been touted. The Spaniard has managed in his homeland, and most recently the Indian Super League where he was unfortunate to lose his job at FC Goa last month despite being top of the table.

Meanwhile, Charlie Adam can be found at 33/1.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Russ Wilcox
Russ Wilcox
(Scunthorpe United)
7th August
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