Bristol City are set to open talks with one particular promotion specialist in the next 48 hours, however there are still other candidates in the running.
Time was called on Lee Johnson’s four year stay at Ashton Gate following a dismal run of results coming as a blow to their chances of reaching the Championship playoffs.
It came just hours after the Robins suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Neil Harris’ Cardiff City on the 4th of July, making it nine games without a win for the club.
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Since then, they have won twice, drew twice and lost just once under caretaker Dean Holden, leaving them seven points away from the playoffs, imagine how different it could have been if Johnson was sacked earlier.
City Chief Executive Mark Ashton said: “We recognise the huge amount of work that Lee has put in over the last four-and-a-half years to move this club forward and we thank him for all his efforts. There have been some special moments over those years and Lee has played a significant part in them.
“However, success in football is ultimately judged by results and league position and the Board believes that a change of management is needed now for Bristol City.”
So, which manager is Bristol City stepping up their interest in being set to open talks with in the next 48 hours?
That man is former Premier League boss Chris Hughton, who has expressed an interest in taking over from Lee Johnson, according to Sky Sports.
Some great work from @piercy360 here. Would just add that nothing is set in stone, there are other contenders still – but huge chance that Chris Hughton will be handed the #BristolCity job in the next days. https://t.co/0UJXhIro9t
— Gregor MacGregor (@GeeMacGee) July 23, 2020
He has been out of work for 14 months having been sacked by Brighton & Hove Albion after just about managing to keep them up last season.
He was most recently the favourite for the vacancy at Birmingham City, who are still yet to appoint a new manager with Pep Clotet stepping down at the end of the season.
Hughton had his contract terminated by the Seagulls – the team he won came Championship runners up with in 2017 despite avoiding the drop from the Premier League.
However he won just three of their last 23 league games and none of their final nine.
He has also managed Norwich City, Birmingham City and Newcastle United (won the Championship with in 2010).
In October 2019, Hughton turned down replacing Nathan Jones as manager Stoke City.
He also said: “I do want to get back in at the highest level that I can but I’m using my time out well and very much making the most of it.
“I’m in the fortunate position, I’m not a first time manager or second time manager that is worried about where the next job is coming from and it’s a very precarious profession that we’re in.
“So, I’m all through all of that. I supposed I would be seen as a more experienced manager now, so I think that takes a little bit of pressure off.”
He seemed adamant that he was good enough to manage a club in the Premier League again, however, now a change of heart sees Hughton wanting to take up the perfect challenge in guiding Bristol City to promotion.
Who are the other favourites for the job?
The club made an ambitious attempt to bring in Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, but he remained intent to stay at the Scottish Premiership outfit.
Plymouth Argyle boss Ryan Lowe is the second favourite for the job along with Preston’s Alex Neil at 4/1 (according to betvictor), despite the Pilgrims boss stating his intention to stay at the newly promoted club, who will be in League One next season, and it would be a surprise to see him swap with a team who finished below his side.
John Terry is 8/1, however Dean Smith refuted for a second time any suggestion that his assistant head coach could be joining Bristol City.
Smith reiterated what he said two weeks ago that Terry is staying at Villa Park and is not interested in succeeding Lee Johnson for his first managerial role.
“I answered it a couple of weeks ago,” said Smith, as reported by Birmingham Live.
“I spoke to JT about the Bristol City link and he said no.
“He’s fully-focused on the job here.
“We have a really good working relationship and a good relationship away from work as well.
“We really enjoy working together.”
There was plenty of reaction online after seeing Bristol City are set to open talks with promotion specialist Chris Hughton in next 48 hours…
— James Martin (@JamesMa26101041) July 23, 2020
Great news but a shame in my view we’ve waited this long and got distracted by Gerrard as would have been great to have CH in post for the last couple of games to evaluate the squad, especially with pre-season being so short – we’ve lost the advantage of sacking LJ so early imo
— Steve Bibbing (@Bibbing90) July 23, 2020
Interesting that this entire tweet functions exactly the same without “We understand that” 🙃 These three words are like a drug to you
— Rob #SouthBristol (@BS3Rob) July 23, 2020
Just hope we haven’t left it too late or made him feel second best – should have been no 1 target given his record and availability.
— Iain Shaddick (@Anglianred) July 23, 2020
Oh my god yes
— Bristol City FC Supporters Page (@BCFC_Supporters) July 23, 2020
Just need to get it over the line and move on.
Hughton, if Lansdown backs him, will do a great job and get us promoted in the next few seasons.
I really do not get why they are not tying him down. Maybe they wanted to see how much he wants the job.
— Jonny Blundra (@jonnyblundra) July 23, 2020
Sign him. Sign him now.. #hughtonin
— cidervisor (@ryansilverfox) July 23, 2020
Showing real intent COYR
— UK_Rob (@HKRob2) July 23, 2020