Next Cardiff City Manager: Who are the early contenders to replace Neil Harris?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 21 January 2021, 16:26

Neil Harris has become the Championship’s first managerial casualty of 2021 after Cardiff City decided to take a new direction following a poor run of form.

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Harris, who replaced Neil Warnock in November 2019, led his troops into the play-offs last season.

However, he’s been unable to capture the same form during the current campaign, with Wednesday’s defeat to QPR leaving the club 15th in the table; 13 points adrift of the top-six.

It was the club’s sixth successive loss in all competitions - their worst losing run since 2018 - with Harris admitting that the heat was on, but his future was in the hands of the board.

Cardiff owner Vincent Tan has subsequently decided to make a change, and in a statement said:

“I’d like to thank Neil and David [Assistant Manager David Livermore] sincerely for their hard work at Cardiff City.

“Their efforts to propel us towards a fifth-place finish and Play-Off position last year are recognised and appreciated, although sadly we are in a result-orientated business and our on-field results of late and progress this season has been very poor. As such, we have had no choice but to relieve them of their duties in an effort to improve results and league position with a change of manager.

“I’d like to personally wish Neil and David the very best with their future undertakings and endeavours. They will always be welcome faces at Cardiff City Stadium and I wish them good luck and good health. God bless.”

Within the club statement, Cardiff revealed that a new permanent manager will be announced in “due course via club channels”.

Anyone who has been keeping an eye on EFL manager markets this season won’t be surprised to see serial contenders Paul Cook and Danny Cowley in the upper echelons of the newly opened next Cardiff City manager market.

Both managers have been out of work since the summer, with Cook recently the hot favourite for the Sheffield Wednesday job, although the chances of a move appear to have dwindled.

He’s previously won league titles at Portsmouth, Chesterfield and Wigan, and did a very good job at the latter in difficult circumstances last season.

Cowley saved Huddersfield from the drop last term, and previously propelled Lincoln from non-league to League one in three seasons.

Elsewhere, a familiar face to Cardiff fans is in the mix, former player Craig Bellamy.

The ex-Bluebird previously worked at the club as an academy coach, then player development manager, but left the club in 2019 following accusations that he bullied players - he has since issued an apology.

The 41-year-old ventured over to Belgium as the U21 team coach for Anderlecht, who are managed by his former Man City teammate Vincent Kompany.

Elsewhere, former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe features in the market, although he’s believed to be after a Premier League return, while Joey Barton is available following his recent departure from Fleetwood Town.

John Terry and Tony Pulis are possible contenders, as is Mark Hughes who this week revealed that he’s keen to return to management.

Further afield there's Newport boss Michael Flynn, ex-Reading manager Mark Bowen, and Doncaster’s Darren Moore who could all be potential options for Cardiff. While Mick McCarthy can't be ruled out either!

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