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Top six favourites to become next Leyton Orient manager

The top six favourites to become the next Leyton Orient manager has been revealed, and it includes an interesting mix of names.

The O’s 39 year old interim manager Jobi McAnuff will not be offered the job on a permanent basis next season.

He oversaw the final 16 games of the season after the sacking of Ross Embleton, winning six and guiding Orient to 11th in the League Two table.

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However, chairman Nigel Travis said the club want a manager with experience at League One and League Two level.

“We have had contact with a number of potential candidates and are aiming to move forward swiftly,” Travis added.

The ex-Wimbledon, Reading and Orient winger McAnuff was appointed interim manager in February and concluded his spell in charge on Saturday with a 3-0 defeat at Salford City.

He has since gone on to announce his retirement from playing football, making 757 career club appearances and 32 international caps for Jamaica.

“Jobi achieved some excellent results as our manager and we are sure he will prove successful in his future career,” Travis said.

“But we haven’t achieved what we’d wanted to this season and we feel that in order to take us to the next level we need to start again in a number of areas.”

McAnuff start his playing career in 2001 with Wimbledon and went on to play for eight different sides including West Ham, Crystal Palace, Watford and Reading.

“I’ve had in my head for a little while now that this would be my last season playing,” McAnuff told the Orient website.

“I’m very fortunate from a playing perspective that I got the chance to have a last game, as football isn’t always a fairytale.

“It may not have ended with a win, but I’m grateful, I’ve had my fair share of opportunities, and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved on the pitch.”

So who are the top six favourites to replace him? Find out below…

6) Mark Cooper

In April 2021, Forest Green Rovers sacked head coach Mark Cooper after almost five years with the League Two club.

The 52-year-old’s axing came after a poor run of six matches without a win and four consecutive defeats left them sixth in the table.

Cooper had led the club to promotion to the English Football League at the end of his first season with the club.

“This decision we’ve made is about giving ourselves the best chance of promotion,” chairman Dale Vince said.

“Despite our collective efforts, we’ve been unable to halt our slide in form, which has the potential to take us out of contention this season.”

The club had been four points clear in third place after beating Harrogate on 13 March but have since slipped down the table.

Saturday’s defeat at struggling Walsall was Forest Green’s fourth in a row and sixth loss in their past 10 league games, with the club now five points off the automatic promotion places.

“I’ve enjoyed working with Mark these last five years, he’s made a big contribution to the club and will always be a friend,” Vince added.

“In football sometimes you just need to make a change – and with Mark’s contract ending next month, and us needing a change in the next six games, this feels like the right decision.”


Tamworth – 28 April 2004 until 24 January 2007 – 138 games, 41 wins, 35 draws, 62 defeats, 29.7 win %
Kettering Town – 16 May 2007 until 14 November 2009 – 128 games, 73 wins, 30 draws, 25 defeats, 57.0 win %
Peterborough United – 14 November 2009 until 1 February 2010 – 13 games, 1 win, 4 draws, 8 defeats, 7.7 win %
Darlington – 29 June 2010 until 24 October 2011 – 86 games, 36 wins, 26 draws, 24 defeats, 41.9 win %
Kettering Town – 4 January 2012 until 18 January 2012 – 1 game, 0 wins, 0 draws, 1 defeat, 0.0 win %
AFC Telford United – 31 January 2013 until 1 March 2013 – 5 games, 0 wins, 1 draws, 4 defeats, 0.0 win %
Swindon Town – 13 July 2013 until 17 October 2015 – 125 games, 52 wins, 27 draws, 46 defeats, 41.6 win %
Notts County – 20 March 2016 until 7 May 2016 – 10 games, 3 wins, 2 draws, 5 defeats, 30.0 win %
Forest Green Rovers – 9 May 2016 until 11 April 2021 – 255 games, 101 wins, 67 draws, 87 defeats, 39.6 win %
Total – 753 games, 300 wins, 191 draws, 262 defeats, 39.8 win %

Sky Bet odds: 10/1

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5) Daryl McMahon

McMahon is currently manager of Dagenham & Redbridge a division below League Two, trying to turn their fate around following some disappointing finishes of the last few seasons.

He has won 23 of the 53 games managed at Victoria Road since coming in in the month of January in 2020. Dagenham were 18th at the time of his appointment, they are now 11th and five points off the playoffs.

He left Ebbsfleet United on the 7th November 2018, before joining up with Macclesfield but with the club in a tough financial situation before they folded, he left after 25 games in charge.

His only honour as a manager is when he won the National League South playoffs in 2017.

He took the Fleet to the National League playoffs in the 2017/18 season but lost out to Tranmere Rovers in the semi final.

His impressive management for a young boss has seen him previously linked with the likes of Oldham, Maidstone, Chesterfield, Wrexham and Cambridge United.

McMahon was appointed as a replacement to Sol Campbell, who also resigned, back in August, but has only managed to pick up four wins out of 25.

Sky Bet odds: 9/1

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4) Kenny Jackett

When it comes to EFL credentials it’s difficult to find a more experienced and successful available manager than Kenny Jackett.

Jackett guided both Millwall and Wolves into the Championship, and reached the League One play-offs with Swansea and Portsmouth.

He won the EFL Trophy and half of his matches at Pompey, but was sacked in March following an EFL Trophy final defeat to League Two Salford.

Leyton Orient may face a tough task in bringing Jackett in to League Two, with the 59-year-old looking around for his new club.

Jackett said: ‘It has been pretty hectic and there has been a lot to sort out but, obviously, I’m looking forward to the next challenge.

‘The opportunity is there to make sure your knowledge is absolutely spot on because you need to know the players and each division.

‘My own knowledge of League One is obviously very good because I’ve been working in it recently.

‘But, similarly, if you go lower and to other divisions, like Ireland and Scotland, it is an opportunity to look right around and make sure when you do step on again, that your knowledge is very good.

‘If the next opportunity is what I am looking for then I’m eager to take it.’

Sky Bet odds: 8/1

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3) John McGreal

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: 8/1

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2) Neil Ardley

Neal Ardley led AFC Wimbledon to League One during a six-year tenure.He won League Two with them via the playoffs in the 2015-16 season before leaving by mutual consent in November 2018 following a run of 10 defeats in 12 EFL games.

He is currently out-of-work after he was controversially sacked by National League side Notts County in March when the club was 6th in the table and chasing promotion.

Sky Bet odds: 6/1

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1) Richie Wellens

Gary Neville’s Salford City ruthlessly sacked Wellens, their second manager of the season with their promotion hopes looking to be taking a dip, yet was still in contention of the playoffs.

His exit came just days after winning the club’s first piece of silverware as a Football League club, following their success in the 2020 EFL Trophy – with last season’s final only being played in March 2021.

Wellens began his playing career at Manchester United before signing for Blackpool in 2000, where he went on to win promotion from League Two via the playoffs in 2001. In 2005, he left them to move to Oldham Athletic where he made 87 appearances in two seasons at the club. After his spell at Oldham, Wellens made his successful move to Doncaster Rovers in the summer of 2007 where he became a fans’ favorite, helping the club rise into the Championship for the first time in 50 years. His time at Doncaster came to an end in 2009 after he had helped the club to consolidate their Championship position as he moved to Leicester City. In his time in the Midlands, Wellens made 129 appearances, scoring four goals, and winning the club’s Player of the Year in 2011. After a short loan spell with Ipswich Town, Wellens rejoined Doncaster in 2013.

Wellens’ first role in management came when he joined Oldham Athletic as first team manager from September 2017 to June 2018 when Wellens was sacked following the club’s relegation to League Two. Wellens then took over the vacant managerial position at Swindon Town in the summer of 2018 where he led the club to win the 19–20 League Two title on PPG during the pandemic.

Sky Bet odds: 4/1

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