Five contenders for the Fleetwood Town job

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 18 February 2018, 15:47

Fleetwood Town sacked Uwe Rosler on Saturday night following a run of seven straight defeats...but who will replace the German in the dugout?

We take a look...

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Gary Caldwell

Why he should get the job:

Rarely can a relegation-threatened League One club appoint a manager that was not only working in the Championship last season, but also has a third-tier title win on his CV. Gary Caldwell achieved good things at Wigan Athletic, where he retains potentially useful contacts after a six-year association. The Scot proved in West Lancashire, where he worked with current Fleetwood players Conor McAleny and Jordy Hiwula, that he can be a very good manager.

Why he shouldn’t:

The goodwill towards Caldwell might not extend to the other side of the Pennines, where Chesterfield fans saw their club first relegated under him, then fall into the League Two drop zone. Scatter-gun recruitment, shifting systems and aimless football aren’t things the Stirling-born supervisor will be proud of from his time in Derbyshire.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

The lack of off-field stability at Chesterfield should be considered, but so should Wigan’s economic clout at this level. The manager’s next stint, rather than his first two, will reveal the real Gary Caldwell.

Phil Brown

Why he should get the job:

Within half a decade, Phil Brown guided Southend United from being a mid-table League Two club with financial issues, to an upward-looking League One outfit with half an eye on the play-offs.

The Geordie will know how to get the best out of centre-back Cian Bolger, a big part of his success in Essex and possesses a fine knowledge of the third tier. On paper, Brown should be treated with the same respect as the likes of Michael Appleton and Darrell Clarke, legends at Oxford and Bristol Rovers respectively.

Why he shouldn’t:

The fact he isn’t however, is slightly revealing. Brown wasn’t always uniformly loved by Southend supporters: at some stages the football was poor, he was a tad disrespectful to officials – and who is to say he wouldn’t see Fleetwood as a step towards the Bolton job, which he publicly courted on national TV while in charge of Southend?

The Sack Race’s Verdict

Brown has achieved some good things, but we reckon Fleetwood should look elsewhere.

Stuart McCall

Why he should get the job:

Fleetwood know all about Stuart McCall’s capabilities: they were defeated by his Bradford City side in last season’s League One play-off semi-final. McCall encouraged his side to play quickly down the left through James Meredith and Mark Marshall – who the board failed to keep hold of the following summer – then made shrewd substitutions to manage the game.

Many fans disagreed with McCall’s dismissal at Bradford, where he retains the respect of many first teamers – how many of those who might not appear in Simon Grayson’s plans would want to be re-united with their former boss?

Why he shouldn’t:

Six successive defeats for a top ten calibre squad doesn’t happen unless something goes badly wrong. McCall’s sceptics at Bradford would 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. Are those characteristics Fleetwood want from their leader heading into a relegation battle?

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

Provided McCall can learn some lessons from the way his time at Bradford ended, there is reason to think he would be a good option for the Cod Army.

John Sheridan

Why he should get the job:

Quite simply, his record for keeping teams in a division. In the last three years, Sheridan has taken over Newport County, Oldham Athletic and then predictably Oldham again – each time, his side was in serious relegation trouble and each time, he has played a key role in keeping them up.

Sheridan, who likes a narrow 4-4-2, makes a clean sheet the priority for every match and always gets an instant response from his players. At this level, he is the ultimate short-term survivalist.

Why he shouldn’t:

For a start, there may be reasons why he has rarely gone on from successfully keeping teams up to being a successful manager all together. When the 53-year-old was given a blank slate at Notts County at the start of last season, he didn’t do the best of jobs.

Not only is Sheridan’s conduct questionable, he coaches teams and manages individual players in a way that isn’t necessarily conducive to healthy long-term development. His methods represent the antithesis of the foundations on which Fleetwood's progress has been built.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

While there are aspects of Sheridan’s record that might appeal to Fleetwood, the philosophy of both parties are too far apart.

David Unsworth

Why he should get the job:

Unsworth retains great respect at Everton, where he not only achieved impressive results in charge of the Under-21s, he developed young players to a standard deemed fit for Premier League football.

The likes of Kieran Dowell and Callum Connolly wouldn’t be performing well in the Championship now were it not for the Chorley-born coach, who has family roots in Lancashire. Unsworth has already worked with Gethin Jones and Conor McAleny and will be trusted by the Toffees to nurture their prized assets.

Why he shouldn’t:

In appointing Unsworth, Fleetwood would risk becoming merely an extension of Everton's reserves and may lose their own sense of identity. While there is plenty of evidence to show that he can work with young players, it is yet to be seen how well he can coach senior pros.

The 44-year-old didn’t quite get the results he wanted in his only job in management, where a high-quality Everton squad was unable to escape a relegation dogfight until Sam Allardyce’s appointment was confirmed.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

At this level, Unsworth should have more of an aura and Highbury might be a decent place to kick-start his career; as long as any deal with Everton is done exclusively in Fleetwood's interests.


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Michael Collins
Michael Collins
(Bradford City)
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