Potential Replacements for Phil Parkinson at Sunderland
Last Win for Phil Parkinson Came in Early November
Sunderland’s last win under Phil Parkinson came at the beginning of November when he led his side to a 2-1 win in the league over fellow promotion-hunters Ipswich Town.
However, since those three points, he has failed to win any of the club’s next five games in all competitions.
They were eliminated in the FA Cup first round by Mansfield Town and were also beaten by Milton Keynes Dons in the league and Fleetwood Town in the EFL Trophy.
The string of bad form has been enough for the former Bolton Wanderers manager to be relieved of his duties as a manager of the club.
Now, with the club still desperate to achieve either automatic promotion back into the Championship or a Play-Off place, we look at five potential replacements for the man at the Black Cats.
1. Danny Cowley
Danny Cowley is currently the overwhelming bookmakers favourite to be the next Sunderland manager.
The 42-year old already has a wealth of experience managing in the Football League and has also won a plethora of honours with some of his previous clubs. In his last role as Huddersfield Town boss, he managed to keep the Terriers in the league and even won a Manager of the Month award.
It, therefore, came as a surprise when he was sacked as boss of Huddersfield and he has since found himself out of work.
However, his experience of guiding teams to promotion in the lower tiers is promising for Sunderland fans and if he was handed the reigns, it could prove to be an astute appointment. As boss of Lincoln City, he had a win rate of 54% over his three-year tenure at the club. That’s without mentioning the small manner of him guiding the club to the National League title to take them into the Football League and then sealing the League Two title two seasons later.
If he could work a similar kind of magic with the Black Cats and was given time to mould the team into his own vision, then the bookies favourite could indeed be the best man for the job.
2. Paul Cook
Paul Cook is another man with an exceptional record throughout the Football League pyramid and someone who could prove to be a solid appointment.
Cook has managed six teams so far during his time as a manager and has impressed at many of those.
At Portsmouth, he averaged a total of 1.70 points per game and helped get his side the League Two title and promotion into League One. Then, taking the reigns at Wigan Athletic, he led them back into the Championship (again, via a title win) and then was unfortunate not to keep them in the second tier. If not for a 12-point deduction and administration, he would have kept them in the Championship.
He’s also won trophies at Sligo Rovers and led Chesterfield to promotion into League One.
For someone with so much experience at fighting with teams at the right end of the table and in helping teams achieve the promotion they desire, could Paul Cook finally be the right man at the right time for Sunderland?
3. Gus Poyet
A man very familiar to Sunderland fans is next on this list. Gus Poyet was manager of the club back when they were in the Premier League and, at the time, he led them to a League Cup final and kept them in the top tier of English football. In addition, at the time of his sacking, they were also above the relegation places.
Since then, it’s been a similar tale of decline for both the manager and the club. Sunderland have sunk into League One, while Poyet has had tenures at Bordeaux, Shanghai Shenhua, Real Betis and AEK Athens without very much luck in terms of results and performances.
A reunion then could be beneficial to both parties. Add in the fact that Poyet is well-versed in League One football (he helped Brighton & Hove Albion to promotion into the Championship back in 2010/11 when he was in charge at the club) and it could be a suitable appointment all-round.
4. Nigel Pearson
Nigel Pearson has pretty much been there and done that as a manager now. Having won both the Championship title (with Leicester City) and the League One title (also with Leicester), he is familiar with all the workings of English football.
He’s also become a man who knows how to keep a team in the Premier League too. It baffled many when he was sacked as Watford boss despite the fact the club were on course for relegation when Pearson took over. After the boss took the reigns, he led the Hornets out of the relegation zone, only to then be sacked and for the club to be relegated to the Championship.
Since then, he too has been out of work. However, with the knowledge of how to lead a team to League One glory in his arsenal and hunger to perhaps prove people wrong about him, that he remains a good manager capable of taking teams to glory, then he could prove to be a good appointment as manager.
The question remains as to whether Pearson would drop back down to League One, having managed most recently in the Premier League.
5. Gary Holt
The final name on this list is Gary Holt. The Scotsman was most recently in charge of Livingston, where his work in charge of the club was admired by many as he led the team to one of their highest finishes in the Scottish Premiership despite being relegation favourites.
He’s also worked at Falkirk as a manager too, meaning his entire managerial experience so far comes as a manager in Scotland – something which may or may not go down too well with Sunderland fans.
With his lack of experience in charge of any English teams, it could be seen as a risk putting Holt in charge. However, at Livingston, his work at the top level of Scottish football was impressive and if he can work on a similar budget with a similar situation at Sunderland then it could pay dividends.
Holt will also be eager to prove he can cut it in England and taking Sunderland back into the Championship would be no mean feat for any manager.
With these five men identified, who then will be tasked with the unenviable task of replacing Phil Parkinson and attempting to achieve promotion with Sunderland?