Next Bristol City Manager: Cook the clear favourite, but will the Robins pluck for a familiar face?

Callum Pragnell by Callum Pragnell / 04 August 2020, 11:55

After four years in charge at Ashton Gate, Bristol City sacked manager Lee Johnson last month.

The Robins are now on the hunt for a new head coach, and will be hoping that their next appointment is someone who can take them to the next level by achieving promotion or at least a place in the play-offs - something they have flirted with tirelessly in recent seasons but ultimately to no avail. 

As always, there are plenty of names in the hat and we are now at the stage where the managerial merry-go-round starts to gain momentum ahead of the new campaign kicking off next month.

We’ve taken a look at four potential candidates for the role, and assessed who would be the best fit for the West Country outfit. 

The Favourite - Paul Cook

Paul Cook is the first name in the frame. The 53-year-old left his post as Wigan manager last week with the club facing relegation to League One following a substantial points deduction. 

Cook is clear favourite at 1/5 with BetVictor and his managerial resume is certainly something which most clubs at this level would look for when appointing a new head coach.

Having tasted success with the likes of Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan during his career in the dugout - each of which he obtained promotions with - Cook knows how to get the best out of his teams and would definitely rule with an iron fist if he did take charge of Bristol City, something which the club are in desperate need of at the moment.

The Robins tailed off massively towards the end of the campaign, and although they were not helped by injuries to key players, it seemed as if they lacked a bit of spirit and togetherness. 

Cook is a charismatic and passionate manager; he seems, on the face of it, to be the perfect fit for a club yearning for some direction.

The Caretaker - Dean Holden

Dean Holden is currently the second-favourite to become the next permanent manager at Ashton Gate, priced at 4/1 with BetVictor at the time of writing.

The former Oldham assistant briefly took over as first-team manager at Boundary Park when Lee Johnson made the switch to Bristol City in 2016, but soon followed his colleague to BS3 where he remained as assistant manager up until Johnson was dismissed at the start of July.

Promoted to caretaker manager following Johnson’s departure, Holden is currently in charge of first-team affairs at Bristol City and his odds to get the job on a full-time basis have fluctuated massively over the past few days. 

Just yesterday Holden was a 5/2 shot but those betting odds were slashed to as short as 1/3 this morning, before again drifting to 4/1.

The 40-year-old is inexperienced as a first-team manager but would certainly be the cheapest option available to the Robins, which could potentially sway their decision.

Holden also knows the club inside out having spent four years at Ashton Gate, and will have a strong relationship with the on and off-field staff which is an advantage that he carries ahead of the other names in this list.

Mr Experience - Chris Hughton

Chris Hughton’s name crops up whenever a job becomes available in the bottom half of the Premier League or the Championship.

The 61-year-old has an abundance of experience in football management, having taken charge of the likes of Newcastle, Birmingham, Norwich and more recently Brighton in the top-flight.

He is currently without a club so the headaches involving releasing him from a current contract would not be a factor, and after winning the Championship with Newcastle in 2009-10 and then getting Brighton promoted in 2016-17, Hughton does know how to get teams out of the second tier and into the Premier League.

Being a more reserved and calming influence, Hughton is similar to Johnson in terms of character, which maybe isn’t what the West Country club needs at the minute, though you can’t argue with his track record in the Championship. 

The ex-Tottenham defender is currently priced at 12/1 to get the Bristol City job, making him the bookies’ third-favourite. 

The Outsider - Danny Cowley

This is an interesting one. Danny Cowley gained headlines when he guided Lincoln City to League One from the National League between the years of 2016 and 2019. 

This earned him a job in the Championship with Huddersfield, who appointed him towards the beginning of the campaign back in September. 

However, a miserable season saw the Terriers battle relegation in their first season back in the second tier following relegation from the Premier League, and while Cowley managed to steer the West Yorkshiremen away from the drop by the skin of their teeth, Huddersfield dismissed him in mid-July.

The 41-year-old is now a free agent and seeking employment, with bookmaker’s BetVictor pricing him up as a 25/1 outsider for the role. 

It seemed somewhat of a harsh decision taken by Huddersfield to sack Cowley after he had kept them up, albeit only just, and I feel that he certainly deserves another chance to prove himself in the Championship.

We’ve seen from his work at Lincoln just what he is capable of, and while the difference in standard is sizable when comparing his two tenures, with the resources to hand Bristol City have available to them there is every chance that he could be a success in the West Country. 


Former Lincoln and Huddersfield boss Danny Cowley is a 25/1 outsider for the vacant Bristol City job

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