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Ex-England player among top six favourites to become next Port Vale manager

In this article, we take a look at who are the top six favourites to become the next manager of Port Vale after John Askey’s exit.

The ex-Macclesfield boss departed after nearly two years in charge, the fourth tier club have revealed via their website on Monday evening.

The manager has lost his job after a run of just six points from 12 games as the Vale have fallen out of playoff contention.

They are now just five points above the relegation zone in the League Two table ahead of Saturday’s home game with second-from-bottom Grimsby Town.

The decision brings to an end Askey’s 23 months in charge of the Vale as his initial successful start was undone a dismal run of results.

Time to take a look at who is in the top six favourites to become next Port Vale manager…


It was in the summer of 2020 that Colchester United announced that they parted company with McGreal after four years in charge.

The U’s ended up finishing in sixth position in the League Two table, however, they lost out to Exeter City in the playoff semi-finals.

In the same season, he also managed to take them to the League Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in the club’s history, before getting eliminated by Manchester United.

The 48 year old – who worked at Colchester since 2009 in their academy set-up and has had success with the under 18s team – is still a popular figure at Tranmere, who are currently managerless – where he came through their youth system and earned over 200 appearances as a player between 1990 and 1999 before playing for the likes of Ipswich Town and Burnley.

He was also born just a few miles away from the stadium of Prenton Park and played with club legends John King and John Aldridge.

His record as manager of Colchester stood at 202 games, 76 wins, 55 draws, and 71 defeats, giving him a win percentage of 37.6.

Sky Bet odds: 16/1


Cowley was most recently was sacked by Huddersfield Town, despite beating second-place West Brom in his last game in charge, which all-but-confirmed the club’s survival.

It’s understood that owner Phil Hodgkinson wanted total control over transfers — but his manager was not willing to work that way.

Danny first grabbed the attention of the country when he and his brother took Lincoln City all the way to the FA Cup Quarter Finals in 2017, causing shocks against Ipswich, Brighton and Burnley along the way.

The Imps finished the 2016/17 season crowned champions of the National League and then in the 2017/18 season finished 7th, claiming a playoff place in their first season back in the Football League and also won the EFL Trophy at Wembley.

In the 2018/19 season, Danny and Nicky Cowley’s side finished top of the League Two table and won promotion to League One.

Danny Cowley left League One high flyers Lincoln to join the Championship strugglers in September, who at the time were 23rd in the table having failed to win any of their first six matches.

Sky Bet odds: 14/1

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In October 2020, Adam Murray was caretaker manager at the Tykes, his second spell in charge of the club having done so in 2019. In total, he won none of his 8 games, drew six and lost two.

He’s also been an assistant at Guiseley, as well as first team manager at Mansfield Town and Boston United.

The 39 year old has played for many clubs between 1998 and 2018. His first club was Derby County, before going on to Mansfield, Kidderminster, Notts County, Burton, Carlisle, Torquay, Macclesfield, Oxford Utd, Luton and Sutton Coldfield.

Murray is known as a manager with an eye for detail and getting the most from the resources available to him by working on ‘marginal gains’ to get the extra one percent advantage to improve his players and teams performances.

At Mansfield, Murray developed a passing game adopted from the Dutch total football model but tailored to football league players.

Murray is known to be an advocate of sports science, sports analysis, strength and conditioning, and sports psychology within football in order to achieve maximum gains on the field.

He has often spoken about the importance of building the right infrastructure for his teams including the importance of a strong academy system for young players to develop into the first team environment,[30] his trust of developing young talent include such players as Peterborough United’s 2016/17 player of the season Ryan Tafazolli who cites Murray as the biggest influence on his career as a young player and ‘developing him from a boy to a man’

Sky Bet odds: 8/1


We continue with a look at who are the top six favourites to become next Port Vale manager.

Former England player Emile Heskey was the bookmakers’ early favourite for the Port Vale manager’s job in January 2021.

Heskey came to the club and met owner Carol Shanahan in August when he delivered advice and coaching to the club’s academy scholars.

The former footballer, who played for the likes of Leicester, Liverpool and Aston Villa striker spoke to the youngsters about making the step up to the first team and also, in the longer term, preparing for life after football.

He opened up in an interview back in November that he wasn’t ruling out coaching and management and is taking his coaching badges having already obtained the UEFA masters qualification for football administration.

The 42 year old earned himself 62 England caps, playing in two World Cups and the European Championships.

Senior career
1994–2000 – Leicester City – 154 apps (40 goals)
2000–2004 – Liverpool – 150 apps (39 goals)
2004–2006 – Birmingham City – 68 apps (14 goals)
2006–2009 – Wigan Athletic – 82 apps (15 goals)
2009–2012 – Aston Villa – 92 apps (9 goals)
2012–2014 – Newcastle Jets – 42 apps (10 goals)
2014–2016 – Bolton Wanderers – 45 apps (3 goals)
Total – 633 apps (130 goals)

National team
1994 – England U16 – 4 apps (0 goals)
1995–1996 – England U18 – 8 apps (5 goals)
1996–2000 – England U21 – 17 apps (6 goals)
1998 – England B – 1 apps (1 goal)
1999–2010 – England – 62 apps (7 goals)

Sky Bet odds: 5/1


Frank Sinclair is another name that will be familiar to people. He is an ex-pro footballer and is currently works as head of coaching development at Port Vale so have a direct route into the manager role.

Sinclair has played his football for Chelsea and Leicester in the Premier League and will be hoping to emulate that success in his management career should he get that opportunity.

Sky Bet odds: 5/2

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Danny Pugh, 38, is a former player who had a youth career with Man United, before playing as a pro for the likes of Leeds, Preston, Stoke, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry, Bury, Blackpool and then ended with Port Vale.

The interim Vale boss hasn’t ruled himself out of contention for the manager’s job but is purely focusing on Saturday’s home game with Grimsby.

Pugh has been with the club for four years having initially been signed as a player by Michael Brown in January 2017.

He was then coaching in the academy, before also coaching also senior players under Brown before he was given extra first-team coaching duties when Neil Aspin was appointed in October 2017.

Sky Bet odds: 6/4

Now you have seen who is among the top six favourites to become next Port Vale manager, who do you think should be appointed? Let us know your thoughts!

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