Next Lincoln City Manager: New contender emerges alongside Michael Flynn and Gareth Ainsworth

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 16 September 2019, 17:45

It’s been a week since Lincoln City reluctantly lost Danny Cowley to Huddersfield Town.

Since then, two managers have dominated the next Lincoln manager market: Michael Flynn and Gareth Ainsworth, who have reportedly both been interviewed for the League One vacancy.

Both are tempting options for the Imps, given their respective managerial achievements in recent times.

Under Flynn, who remains the frontrunner in the betting, Newport have been transformed from a struggling League Two outfit to serious promotion contenders, whereas former Imps midfielder Ainsworth led Wycombe into League One in 2018, and has enjoyed a cracking start to the current campaign.

King’s Lynn Town manager Ian Culverhouse, Phil Parkinson, Craig Denton, and Matt Taylor - the Exeter City boss rejected an approach - have all been linked but it’s Michael Appleton who has shot into contention after one bookmaker slashed his odds from 28/1 to just 7/2, although he can still be backed at 8/1 with Bet Victor.

Appleton has previously held four permanent posts in the dugout at Portsmouth, Blackpool, Blackburn and Oxford, whom he led up to League One.

He left the U’s in 2017 after an 8th place finish in the third-tier, and has yet to return to manage at senior level, although he did oversee Leicester on a caretaker basis for two games after Craig Shakespeare was sacked in October 2017.

Back in April Appleton returned to West Brom - who he played for and managed for one game as caretaker - as first-team coach under the club’s then caretaker manager James Shan.

In the summer Appleton was linked with the full-time job, however it was Slaven Bilic who was unveiled as the club’s new head coach, with Appleton handed the role of Under-23 squad coach following the departure of Jamie Smith.

The Baggies’ U23 side have since picked up six points from four games this season under Appleton, with the stand-out performance so far a 6-0 thrashing of Sunderland.

“I’m enjoying the job,” Appleton told wba.co.uk today (Monday).

"I mentioned when I first came in it is a bit full circle for me having started my career after playing in the coaching side of things here.

"It’s different to management in some ways but in some aspects it is very similar.

"I said at the start I have tried to take on the role and tried to create a first-team environment for the players so that when they go out on loan or if they go in the first-team dressing room then it is not too different for them, so in that aspect I suppose it has run quite smoothly for me."

If approached by Lincoln it will be interesting to see if Appleton is tempted by a move back into the League One dugout. It’s certainly an appealing job, but as of yet the Imps have had no luck in their search for Cowley’s replacement...

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