Championship Manager(s) – What’s best?

The news the Welsh FA wish to appoint Sheffield United’s rookie manager Gary Speed after just 18 games as a manger is interesting.

But it throws open a debate over whether it is best to have an experienced leader or a young tyro.

The Championship throws up four types of manager:

The Old Heads

These guys are generally going well.

Neil Warnock has over 1000 games in management, and love him or loathe him, he is an envious record, having secured promotion with Scarborough, Notts County, Huddersfield and Sheffield United.

The controversial Yorkshireman has provided some stability at QPR, and despite suffering their first defeat of the season against Watford on Friday night, the R’s remain favourites to win the title.

Although Cardiff have gone off the boil recently, Dave Jones has 15 years and nearly 750 games managerial experience.

Jones gained promotion with Stockport and Wolves, and the Bluebirds look capable of making it a hat-trick if they overcome their dodgy current form.

Dave Jones & Terry Burton
Dave Jones: Experienced and looking set for a Premiership return?

Having been around the world, and managed England, Mexico and Ivory Coast at international level, and Roma, Lazio and Manchester City on the club scene, Sven-Goran Eriksson’s current role at Leicester is slightly bizarre.

But the Swedish lothario has improved results for the Foxes. Some rate him an excellent manager, others argue he never truly succeeded with England and was well supported in the transfer market at club level.

Whether he can guide Leicester into the top flight remains to be seen, but current signs look promising.

Sven-Goran Eriksson
Sven-Goran Eriksson has improved Leicester’s form

Doncaster’s Sean O’Driscoll has only managed Bournemouth and his current club, yet has racked up over 500 games.

He shone at The Cherries and has established Donny in The Championship on something of a shoestring budget.

Whether he gets the chance to manage a big-name club (and whether he wants to) is debateable, but he is a fine manger.

The likes of Brian Laws, George Burley, Steve Cotterill and Kenny Jackett could also be classed in this bracket.

Decent Experience, but tried, tested and failed?

Four managers are excellent Championship manager’s who had a crack at the top flight and failed.

Billy Davies chance in the top flight with Derby was sadly brief, so he may yet come again as a Premiership manager.

He has fashioned an excellent young Nottingham Forest side but may have to rely on getting promotion with them in order to have another shot at the top table.

At Middlesbrough, Tony Mowbray has the perfect opportunity to revive his reputation following his time at the boing-boing Baggies.

His commitment to attacking and passing football is well documented and with a talented but under-performing squad he will be looking to return the Teesside club to the top flight.

Tony Mowbray
Tony Mowbray: Can he revive Middlesbrough?

Nobody would have picked Coventry to be in a play-off place at the start of the season, but, as he did at Watford, Aidy Boothroyd has forged a strong team ethic which has produced excellent results.

Lastly, Roy Keane has racked up nearly 200 games during his time with Sunderland and Ipswich.

He made a magnificent start by getting the Northeast club into the Premiership but things turned sour and his job is under serious threat with the Tractor Boys.

If he does get the bullet, it is likely he will get another shot on name value, but whether he would deserve it is questionable.

Experienced, and worthy of a shot at the big time

It is amazing to think Nigel Clough has racked up over 800 games as a manager.

But having paid his dues during 10 years at Burton Albion, he has led Derby into a solid league position and is doing his famous father proud.

Nigel Clough has done well at Derby

Simon Grayson had a tremendously successful spell at Blackpool before making the decision to try and reinvigorate Leeds United.

He has done all that could have been asked of him, having led the Yorkshire side back into The Championship and now up to fourth place.

Having managed Motherwell and Colchester, Paul Lambert has done an excellent job with Norwich.

Ironically given the Canaries job after his then Colchester side beat them 7-1 on the opening day of last season, he secured the League One title and they now look real play-off contenders.

Barnsley manager Mark Robins continues to impress with The Tykes. Oakwell is a fortress and their away form has improved.

They sit in 10th place and if 22-year-old Adam Hamill continues his superb form, a return to the top flight for the first time in 14 years is not impossible.

That would be an incredible achievement for Robins and the club.

Preston boss Darren Ferguson would also join this group despite his current problems, while Nigel Pearson is trying to revive Hull City.

The Rookies

Aside from Speed, there are five managers in The Championship with less than 100 games experience.

Keith Millen has made a great start at Bristol City, while Ian Baraclough’s short time at Scunthorpe has shown some promise.

Malky Mackay and Brian McDermott have pushed Watford and Reading respectively into the play-off picture, but it is Brendan Rodgers who is blazing the way for this group.

His Swansea side sit in third place and it will be fascinating to see whether he can lead the Welsh side into the Premiership, and if so, how he, and they, could do?

So, what type of manager is best? And who would you have at your club?

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