Next Mansfield Town Manager Latest: Nigel Clough and Paul Hurst in the mix for vacancy

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 03 November 2020, 09:00

It’s been a week since Graham Coughlan cleared his desk at Mansfield Town following a 4-2 home defeat to Barrow.

Academy Manager Richard Cooper stepped into the Stags hot-seat for Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Walsall, which not only continued the club’s worst start to a season in 106 years but extended their winless run to an alarming 13 matches, dating back to March.

Cooper will have another opportunity to pick up a prized three points on Tuesday night when his side travel to Bolton whose own boss Ian Evatt has come under-fire following a poor start to the season.

The wait for a third manager in less than a year could soon be over, with Chad.co.uk reporting that Mansfield are lining up a replacement before Saturday’s FA Cup clash away to Sunderland.

But, who will it be?

The same outlet states that the interview process is now coming to a close. Chief executive David Sharpe is overseeing matters on that front, and given that he was previously Wigan chairman - a position he stepped into aged just 23 - there’s inevitably been attention on a couple of Latics bosses in the next Mansfield Town manager market.

Paul Cook and Gary Caldwell can currently be backed at 10/1 and 14/1, with both bosses winning the League One title during their respective spells at Wigan.

Cook left the club in August, while Caldwell has been out-of-work since leaving Partick Thistle in September 2019.

However, for the moment the betting indicates that a few other managers have a more likely chance of stepping into the Stags dugout: Nigel Clough, Paul Hurst, and caretaker Cooper.

Clough, the hot 2/7 favourite (Bet Victor), is evidently fond of this particular area of the country having previously managed Burton, Derby and Sheffield United, which are all within an hour’s drive of Mansfield.

The 54-year-old’s second spell at Burton - a club he revolutionised over two tenures - came to an end in May after he opted to step down from his position in order to help ease the financial pressures on the club. "He's protected the club, and an unbelievable amount of jobs will be protected because of what he's done," revealed his successor Jake Buxton.

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Nigel Clough has a fondness for this part of the world

After a flurry of managers over the last few years, Mansfield fans will no doubt crave a long-term appointment. Clough’s experience, success and stability means an appointment would be a tremendous coup for the League Two outfit, while he’s never managed less than 100 matches at a club.

In contrast, only Paul Cox and Adam Murray have reached this milestone at Mansfield since 2004, while the last two incumbents - Coughlan and John Dempster - were only at the helm for a combined 55 games.

“I’d like a fair crack anywhere,” Clough told The Athletic in June. “It’s not so much about the level. It’s about the sort of people you work for and the club.”

Hurst, a 4/1 shot, previously led Grimsby Town into the Football League, before moving up a division to rock-bottom third-tier club Shrewsbury Town. Hurst saved his new side from relegation, then propelled them to 3rd the following campaign; they were beaten in extra-time in the play-off final and also the EFL Trophy Final.

An ill-fated five month spell in the Championship at Ipswich Town followed, then he returned to League Two with Scunthorpe in the summer of 2019, where he spent eight months before he was sacked after a breakdown in relations with the club’s chairman Peter Swann.

Elsewhere, over the last 24 hours Cooper has been cut down to just 3/1, whereas former Stags boss David Flitcroft, Paul Heckingbottom and Graham Alexander can all be backed at 16/1.

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