It’s approaching seven years since Paul Ince was last seen in the dugout, yet the 53-year-old is being linked with a surprise return to management with Tranmere Rovers.
Over the weekend Ince’s odds were cut to just 5/2 in the next Tranmere Rovers manager market, which makes him the new joint-favourite for the League Two post alongside Nigel Adkins, who has been glued to the top of the betting since Mike Jackson was sacked over a week ago.
Ince has plenty of managerial experience to his name, having previously taken charge of the likes of Blackburn, Blackpool, MK Dons (twice), Notts County and Macclesfield Town.
In his first job Ince kept Macclesfield in the Football League. He then fired MK Dons to League Two and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy glory which caught the eye of top-flight Blackburn, where he became the first black Englishman to manage in the Premier League.
Blackburn terminated Ince's contract after just six months, so he returned to MK Dons for a second spell but was unable to replicate his previous success, and resigned after a single season because he didn’t think he could take the club forward due to budget cuts.
A 29-game stint at Notts County followed, then Ince then linked up with son Tom at Blackpool, with whom he led to their best-ever start to a league season (2013/14), but come the New Year he was sacked after less than a year in the job.
That was back in 2014, meaning it’s been nearly seven years since Ince last managed.
However, last weekend his presence in the Prenton Park stands triggered the managerial rumour mill, which has led to speculation that he’s in the running for the Tranmere vacancy.
Paul Ince, now the bookies favourite for the Tranmere job. pic.twitter.com/TYt5Fsu092— Chris Stading (@ChrisStading) November 8, 2020
But, as Twitter users were quick to point out, the reason behind Ince’s appearance on Saturday may not have been because he’s in the frame for the hot seat, but could in fact be because he was scouting for Stoke City where his son currently plays.
For the moment, we’ll have to wait and see how this one develops.
Meanwhile, Tranmere’s decision to appoint from within in the summer may have backfired, but caretaker Ian Dawes has forced his way into the reckoning after winning both of his games at the helm so far: a 1-0 league triumph away to Harrogate, followed by a victory over League One side Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup.
Dawes, a 12/1 shot for the permanent post, will now be gunning to make it a hat-trick of wins when Tranmere host Wigan in the EFL Trophy on Wednesday night.
Elsewhere, Sol Campbell and Graham Alexander can both be backed at 4/1, while former John McGreal is available at 12/1.