Assessing potential candidates for Sheffield Wednesday job including former Wolves, Bournemouth, Swansea City and Rangers bosses

Football can be a ruthless business and focus shifts quickly.

Darren Moore’s surprise departure from his role as Sheffield Wednesday manager sent shockwaves through Yorkshire on the same day AFC Bournemouth axed the man who steered them to Premier League safety.

The strength of feeling among the Hillsborough faithful regarding Moore is evident and the respect he had from players has shown in the heartfelt tributes. However, the 2023/24 campaign begins in less than two months. There is no time for wound-licking.

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Wednesday must not squander the work Moore has done by immediately returning to League One, therefore those in charge cannot afford to dwell. Reflection may be a comfort for Wednesday given how recent League One play-off final glory was, but attentions will quickly turn to the names in contention to be Moore’s successor.

There is a vacancy in the Hillsborough dugout. Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty ImagesThere is a vacancy in the Hillsborough dugout. Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
There is a vacancy in the Hillsborough dugout. Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Less than 24 hours on from confirmation of Moore’s departure, it has already been reported by The Star that the idea of bringing Carlos Carvalhal back to the club has been mooted. Here are five coaches Wednesday could turn to this summer.

Carlos Carvalhal

Sentimentality can be dangerous but Carvalhal’s record from his spell as Owls boss is difficult to criticise. He led the Owls to back-to-back top-six finishes in the Championship, endearing himself to the Hillsborough faithful in the process.

He has had mixed fortunes since leaving S6, with his impressive Braga tenure a highlight. A tactically flexible coach already popular among fans, interest in the 57-year-old would be understandable. However, he would be arguably be under intense pressure considering the popularity of the man he would be replacing and his pre-existing Owls record.

Torsten Lieberknecht

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The German coach has rebuilt his reputation with Darmstadt 98. It was dented by struggles in the latter stages of his Eintracht Braunschweig tenure and his during his underwhelming MSV Duisburg stint, but promotion to the Bundesliga with his current employers may have even put him on the radar of other clubs. The way in which he sets up his Darmstadt 98 side is not too dissimilar to the way in which Moore set Wednesday up last season, therefore there could be a degree of continuity.

Steven Gerrard

After showing promise at Rangers, Gerrard struggled in the Premier League with Aston Villa and his stock plummeted. His struggles in the top flight suggest a Championship job may be next for the Liverpool legend, and his preference for possession-based, attacking football could appeal to Wednesday fans.

Bruno Lage

If Wednesday opt against pursuing a deal to bring Carvalhal back to the club, they could turn to the man who was his assistant manager at Hillsborough. Lage emerged from Carvalhal’s shadow to become number one at Benfica, before taking the reins at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League. He was bold enough to make changes to the system and personnel at Molineux despite succeeding a coach in Nuno Espirito Santo who had enjoyed success. He would arguably need to do the same at Hillsborough.

Gary O’Neil

Initially drafted in by AFC Bournemouth as an interim head coach, O’Neil impressed enough to land the job on a permanent basis. He fulfilled his brief by steering the club to Premier League safety, but was still replaced by Andoni Iraola. He won plaudits for securing Bournemouth’s Premier League status and his ability to provide security could appeal to a club like Wednesday, who have lacked it in recent years.