Man Utd legend Roy Keane may have dominated discussion in the next Salford City manager market since Graham Alexander was harshly axed on Monday, yet a new name has now snatched the Irishman’s place at the top of the betting.
Step forward: Paul Cook.
Cook was previously priced at 10/1, with Keane the odds-on frontrunner, yet the former Wigan boss has now come in at 5/6. Keane meanwhile has drifted to 13/5, with Warren Joyce hovering around the 5/1 mark. Sam Allardyce is surprisingly available at 10/1, whereas Danny Cowley is a 12/1 shot.
For those Salford City fans feeling particularly optimistic, Sir Alex Ferguson can be backed at 20/1 to make the most sensational managerial return in history.
Anyway, back to Cook.
The 53-year-old is currently kicking back in the Job Centre, having left Wigan in August following their relegation down to League One - a relegation that only happened because the club were docked 12 points, without the punishment they would have finished in 13th.
The Latics had endured a torrid opening-half of the campaign, which had left Cook under pressure, yet he conjured up an inspired turnaround as his troops stormed to eight wins from their final 13 matches - including that 8-0 thumping of Hull - and only lost twice between mid-January and the end of the season.
Over the summer Cook was linked with a swift Championship return as reports of a potential appointment at Bristol City, Middlesbrough and Birmingham circulated. Nothing happened.
He’s since inevitably been linked with another second-tier job - he’s 14/1 in the next Barnsley market - however, it’s his abrupt movement in the Salford City betting that has today (Friday) captured attention.
The attraction from Salford City’s perspective is obvious.
First off, Cook would still be managing in the Championship this season, if it wasn’t for circumstances outside of his control.
He has twice lifted the League Two title; Chesterfield in 2014 and Portsmouth in 2017, and won the League One gong with Wigan in 2018.
A few weeks ago we would have thought it absurd for Cook to drop down into League Two, but as we’ve mentioned in previous articles, Salford City have the cash to splash and should he be offered a tasty salary and the promise of new players, then it’s a venture he could be tempted to sink his teeth into.