Next Scunthorpe United Manager: Featuring Nigel Adkins and two other potential replacements for Paul Hurst

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 29 January 2020, 18:42

It had been all quiet in the managerial arena for a total of 26 days, then WHAM, two League Two managers were ejected from their hot seats in the space of a chaotic couple of hours on Wednesday afternoon.

First off we saw Cambridge and Colin Calderwood part ways - you can see who is in contention for the job right here - then shortly after the relationship between Scunthorpe and Paul Hurst came to a surprising end after eight months.

Hurst, appointed in the summer, endured a torrid start to life at Scunthorpe, picking up one point from his opening eight games. However, he proceeded to steady the ship and enjoyed an encouraging set of results from mid-September through to the start of 2020, during which he picked up eight wins and six draws from 18 League Two games.

The Iron may have since failed to win any of their last five matches but in recent weeks Hurst’s men carded respectable 2-2 draws against the promotion-pushing duo of Crewe and Bradford, however Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at Northampton has since proved to be his final game.

In a brisk statement Scunthorpe thanked Hurst and his assistant Chris Doig for their efforts, before ending with: “The club will make no further comment at this stage.” Leaving fans in a state of confusion as to whether he walked, or was given the boot.

On the plus side, the next Scunthorpe manager odds are out and packed full of a sea of potential future Iron bosses, a trio of which we’ve plucked out below…

Nigel Adkins

Who else could we start with?

Nigel Adkins was famously Scunthorpe’s physiotherapist, before being promoted to caretaker, then outright manager back in 2006.

What a decision that prove to be as come the end of the season Adkins had led the club to the League One title and thus a return to the second-tier for the first time in 40 years. But while Adkins was unable to preserve the club’s Championship status he did orchestrate an immediate return, this time via the play-offs, and kept them there the following season.

Southampton then came calling, with whom he propelled from League One to the Premier League, while he’s since had less successful spells at Reading, Sheffield United and most recently Hull, where he did a credible job.

Adkins has been out-of-work since leaving the Tigers last summer but while Scunthorpe are two leagues below where he last managed, the chance to return to the club could pull at his heartstrings.


Nigel Adkins after leading Scunthorpe up to League One for the second time

Kevin Nolan

It’s been 18 months since we last saw Kevin Nolan in the managerial arena, yet the young boss is frequently linked with vacancies at this level, most recently with Scunthorpe’s local rivals Grimsby. Nothing has yet come to fruition but should he be offered a path back to the dugout he’d no doubt be keen.

In his first job, at Leyton Orient, Nolan was harshly axed just fourth months into the job, despite winning more games than he lost and being within two points of the League Two play-offs. 

Next up was a spell at struggling Notts County, with whom he saved from the drop out of the Football League, then in his first full season finished 5th, only to lose out in the play-offs. An underwhelming start to the following campaign saw the Magpies surprisingly wield the axe in August, a decision Nolan had every right to feel hard done by.

Definitely deserves another crack, and it’s no surprise to see him in the mix.

Russ Wilcox

One name that’s been gathering steam in the aftermath of Hurst’s surprise exit is Russ Wilcox, who like the aforementioned Adkins has of course previously managed Scunthorpe.

Wilcox spent the majority of his playing career at the club where he registered over 150 appearances and helped win promotion to the third-tier. He’d later become assistant manager, caretaker, then eventually permanent manager in late 2013 - following assistant manager spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley and Bournemouth.

In his first ever job as a full-time boss Wilcox remarkably went 28 matches unbeaten - a record run at the beginning of a managerial reign - as he led Scunthorpe up to League One.

However, it didn’t quite work out for him during the following campaign and he was sent packing in October 2014. 

Wilcox would go on to take charge of York for a year but hasn’t been in management since he left the club towards the end of 2015, however he has since worked at Doncaster Rovers as Head of Recruitment, and more pertinently has been in charge of Scunthorpe’s U23s for the last year, meaning an in-house appointment could well be on the cards.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Graham Westley
Graham Westley
16th February
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