Here we go again. For the fifth time since 2018, Mansfield Town are looking for a new permanent manager.
Graham Coughlan became the latest Stags boss to exit his post on Tuesday night in the wake of the club’s 4-2 defeat at home to Barrow, which extended the their rotten winless run to 12 games dating back to March.
In a statement the club revealed: “The process for a new manager is now underway. We will be guided by our chief executive, David Sharpe, and will take the necessary time to ensure that we appoint the right manager for Mansfield Town Football Club.”
So, without further ado, we take a look at four of the names that feature in the next Mansfield manager market...
If Mansfield Town are after a manager with buckets of experience, then Nigel Clough could well be their man.
Clough previously led Sheffield United to an FA Cup and League Cup semi-final, plus the League One play-offs; he spent over three years in the Championship at Derby County, while he previously led Burton from the Southern Premier League to the top of the Conference before returning in 2015 to win an historic promotion into the Championship.
Clough has been out-of-work since he chose to leave Burton in May, a decision which his replacement Jake Buxton revealed had saved numerous jobs:
"It's a credit to the man he is. He's realised the strains this pandemic has caused in all businesses and football is not immune to that. With Nigel stepping down, he's protected the club, and an unbelievable amount of jobs will be protected because of what he's done."
Clough, who has surprisingly never managed in League Two, has now emerged as one of the early favourites to take over at the Stags.
Could Nigel Clough return to management?
Here’s an interesting one: Could David Flitcroft make a return to Field Mill, 18 months after he was sacked?
Flitcroft took charge of the club in March 2018 following the departure of Steve Evans to Peterborough.
He didn’t enjoy the best of starts, as Mansfield slipped out of the League Two play-offs down into 8th, however his new-look side stormed out of the blocks in 2018/19; losing only one of their opening 24 league games, which included a 17-game unbeaten run.
They eventually finished 4th, just three points outside the automatic places, before losing to Newport County on penalties in the play-offs.
While Flitcroft would have been disappointed at the club’s poor run in, which included a hat-trick of league defeats in their final few games, he was rather unfortunate to lose his job at the end of the season.
With Flitcroft gone, the club finished 21st last season, and are now 22nd this term. Time to lure him back perhaps?
Prior to Coughlan’s departure, the most recent managerial addition to the Job Centre was Graham Alexander, who became the first League Two managerial casualty of the campaign after Salford City rather harshly sent him packing two weeks ago.
Alexander had propelled the club into the Football League at the first attempt, before securing a mid-table finish and journey through to the EFL Trophy Final - which has still yet to take place. Salford started the new season unbeaten in the league, and one of the favourites for promotion, only for Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and co to dismiss him earlier this month.
Alexander has experience of winning promotion out of League Two, having previously achieved this feat with Fleetwood, while he also led Scunthorpe into the League One play-off places.
The fourth and final out-of-work manager in this feature is Simon Grayson.
Speaking of the number four, that’s the amount of promotions he’s accumulated during his career; all four of which were achieved in League One with Blackpool, Leeds, Huddersfield, and Preston.
Following back-to-back disappointments at the helm of Sunderland and Bradford, Grayson returned to League One side Blackpool in the summer of 2019. He went unbeaten in his opening six league games, and was only defeated three times in his first 20 matches with his side 4th in December.
However, a sudden fall in form over the festive period saw Blackpool plummet down to 15th, which resulted in the termination of his contract in February.
“I want to get back in [to management] but I’m waiting for the right opportunity,” Grayson told Metro in July. “Clubs will be very wary of what they do right now and it’s a case of being patient.
“When you leave a job anywhere, it’s time to reflect on the work you’ve done. The reasons, positive and negative, for leaving. You re-evaluate things. As a manager, you’re always waiting on someone’s misfortune.”
He can currently be backed at 6/1 to return to management with Mansfield.