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Surprise new name a contender for the Bristol Rovers manager’s job

A surprise new name has emerged as a contender for the Bristol Rovers manager’s job after the sacking of Ben Garner on Saturday night.

The club have only won just three of their 11 opening games this of the 2020/21 season and are sitting a lowly 18th in the League One table.

Ben Garner took over in December 2019 but only won six of his 33 matches in charge. Fans weren’t exactly happy with the appointment from the start either.


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Bristol Rovers wrote in a statement: “Bristol Rovers can this evening confirm that it has parted company with Manager Ben Garner.

“Tommy Widdrington will be taking charge of first-team duties on a temporary basis, while the Club commences the process of appointing a new Manager.

“The Club would like to thank Ben Garner for all his hard work and wish him the very best of luck for the future.

“The Club will be making no further comment at this time.”

Ben Garner gave his reaction after his side turned in their worst performance to lose 4-1 at home to Fleetwood.

“The first 45 minutes were unacceptable,” Garner said. “The sheer basics of the game: competing, rolling your sleeves up and working hard, it wasn’t good enough.

“I apologise to the supporters. There were some strong words at half time because we expect working hard to be the bare minimum.

“We were nowhere near where we should’ve been and it was nowhere near good enough.

“We just weren’t competing. First balls, second balls, they were winning everything. We had people trying to do each other’s jobs rather than just focusing on our own and didn’t pass the ball well.

“There was nothing good in the first half, nowhere near where we should be.”

“Today, it’s just an apology,” Garner continued. There’s no point saying anything else. I’ve got to front up and admit it’s plainly not acceptable.

“I understand the frustrations. I know from speaking to fans and people that live in the area what they expect and what they want, and that first 45 minutes isn’t it.

“There’s no point in me trying to spin it or go around it, it just wasn’t good enough and any frustration this evening is fully justified.

“We have to react and make up for it in the coming weeks.”

Time ran out on Garner’s tenure at the club and now the Gas are looking for their next boss, as mentioned, there is a surprise new name a contender for the Bristol Rovers manager’s job…

6) Graham Alexander

Salford City sacked Alexender before appointing Swindon’s manager. He guided them to promotion from the National League, an 11th place finish in the fourth tier of English football (based on PPG), then had an unbeaten start to the 2020/21 League Two season, before being axed.


Preston North End (caretaker) – 14 Dec 2011 until 16 Jan 2012 – 5 G, 2 W, 2 D, 1 L – 40.0 win %
Fleetwood Town – 6 Dec 2012 until 30 Sep 2015 – 145 G, 56 W, 35 D, 54 L – 38.6 win %
Scunthorpe United – 22 Mar 2016 until 24 Mar 2018 – 113 G, 53 W, 30 D, 30 L – 46.9 win %
Salford City – 14 May 2018 until 12 Oct 2020 – 112 G, 54 W, 27 D, 31 L – 48.2 win %
Total – 372 G, 160 W, 97 D, 115 L – 43.0 win %

Sky Bet odds: 16/1

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5) Steve Cotterill

Steve Cotterill managed Birmingham City but was sacked in March 2018.

The other clubs he has managed are Sligo Rovers, Cheltenham Town, Stoke City, Burnley, Notts County, Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.



– FA Trophy winners: 1997-98
– Football Conference runners-up: 1997-98
– Football Conference champions: 1998-99
– Football League Third Division play-off winners: 2001-02


– Football League Two champions: 2009-10


– Football League Trophy winners: 2014-15
– Football League One champions: 2014-15

Sky Bet odds: 14/1

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4) Danny Cowley

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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3) Paul Tisdale

Paul Tisdale’s last job was with Milton Keynes Dons, but a poor start to the 2019–20 season saw him achieve only one point from a possible 27 – the worst run of results in the club’s short history – leading to Tisdale’s sacking on the 2nd of November 2019 following a 1–3 home defeat to Tranmere Rovers.

He lead MK to automatic promotion back to League One at the first attempt in the 2018/19 season by achieving a third-place finish.

Previous to that, he was manager at Exeter City, but after many failed attempts to take them up in recent seasons, Tisdale left after twelve years at the club. At the time of his departure, Tisdale was the longest-serving manager in English football’s top four divisions.

His other honours include:

Western Football League First Division: 2000–01 (Team Bath)
Western Football League Premier Division: 2002–03 (Team Bath)
Conference Premier play-offs: 2008 (Exeter City)
League Two runners-up: 2008–09 (Exeter City)

Sky Bet odds: 12/1

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2) Paul Cook

Paul Cook is currently out of work having departed from Wigan Athletic who are in administration.

In August 2020, the Latic’s relegation to League One was confirmed due to the points deduction on the final day, despite a cracking run of form, subsequently saw the resignation of the manager.

Cook has previously managed Portsmouth, Chesterfield, Accrington, Sligo and Southport – winning the League One title with Wigan in 2017/18, the League Two title with Pompey in 2016/17 and with Chesterfield in 2013/14.

Sky Bet odds: 12/1

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1) Tommy Widdrington

Tommy Widdrington has been place into temporary charge of the club – usually he is currently head of recruitment.

He has previously managed Salisbury City, Hemel Hempstead and Eastbourne Borough between 2009 and 2017.

The former Southampton, Wigan, Grimsby, Port Vale, Hartlepool, Macclesfield and Salisbury player became favourite for the job on Saturday night.

He conducted the interviews with Wael Al Qadi, the President of Bristol Rovers last time the job was open, that went to the recently sacked Ben Garner.

Sky Bet odds: 1/3

Graham Coughlan – 16/1
Mark Hudson – 16/1
Steve Evans – 16/1
Ian Holloway – 20/1
Lee Johnson – 20/1
Nigel Adkins – 20/1
Paul Heckingbottom – 20/1
Roberto Di Matteo – 20/1
Steven Pressley – 20/1

Now you have seen the surprise new name contender among the favourites for the Bristol Rovers manager’s job, which of those do you think should get it? Let us know!

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