SHEFFIELD Wednesday look set to appoint Gary Megson as manager following the sacking of Alan Irvine.
Chairman Milan Mandaric, who axed Irvine yesterday following a run of six games without a victory, is looking to announce a successor before tomorrow’s League One game against Milton Keynes Dons at Hillsborough.
Megson, born in Sheffield, enjoyed two spells at the club as a player, and has worked previously under Mandaric at Leicester City.
He has twice led West Brom to promotion from the Championship and, in his last job, helped Bolton avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Among the other names in the frame are former Bristol City manager Gary Johnson, Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington and former Leeds United manager Dennis Wise.
Megson, however, is the clear favourite for the job despite walking out on Mandaric to join Bolton after just 41 days in charge at Leicester.
Expressing his admiration for Megson last night, Mandaric revealed that there were no hard feelings over his departure from the Walkers Stadium in 2007.
“Of course I am interested in Gary Megson,” he said. “I rate Gary very highly. He is a top drawer manager with experience of football in the Championship and the Premier League.
“Look at what he has done in very difficult circumstances at Bolton.
“He has kept that club in the Premier League at a difficult time and at West Brom he has won promotion. He has worked in a lot of difficult circumstances, a lot more difficult than he would be working under here.
“I had Gary working with me before but he wanted to leave to go to a Premier League club – and I can’t blame him for going – but while he was there (at Leicester), the organisation and the confidence he gave to the team showed immediately.
“I think he is very experienced and is also a Sheffield Wednesday man.”
Mandaric had drawn up a shortlist of four candidates and confirmed that at least one of those was currently in employment.
“I am not saying Gary Megson will be the next manager – and the same goes for Gary Johnson – but I am close to knowing who I want,” he said. “I am not known for wasting time and I will get the right man quickly.”
Irvine’s departure was announced shortly before lunchtime yesterday with the former Preston North End manager having lasted just 13 months at Hillsborough.
He had been unable to prevent the club’s relegation from the Championship and Tuesday night’s 5-3 defeat at Peterborough United left the Owls eight points adrift of the play-off spots and only five points clear of the relegation zone.
Mandaric said: “I had no alternative. The table tells the truth and we are closer to the bottom than where we are supposed to be.
“Alan Irvine is a great man, one of the best people I have worked with in football, but the results were just not there. This is a big club with big expectations and the supporters demand more.”
Mandaric interview: Page 24.