Barnsley face competition for Michael Duff from Blackpool as Cheltenham post an update

BLACKPOOL have made an official approach to speak to Barnsley managerial target Michael Duff.

The Cheltenham Town manager was due to speak with Oakwell officials today about the vacant head coaching role at the club.

Meanwhile, Cheltenham have confirmed in a statement on Monday evening that Barnsley have asked for permission to speak to Duff as part of their search for a new head coach and went onto state that another Championship club have also approached the club.

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A statement read: "The board is conscious of the speculation surrounding the future of Michael Duff and would like to update Cheltenham Town supporters about the current situation.

Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff - who is a target of Blackpool and Barnsley. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PACheltenham Town manager Michael Duff - who is a target of Blackpool and Barnsley. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA
Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff - who is a target of Blackpool and Barnsley. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

"Michael's contract at Cheltenham Town has a further year to run and we are extremely keen to keep him as our manager. To that end, the directors have put forward an offer to extend this contract and discussions remain ongoing.

"It is common knowledge that Barnsley have requested permission to speak to Michael as part of their new manager recruitment process and we have now received an approach from a Championship club as well. Michael has been given permission to speak to both clubs, but we remain hopeful that he will stay to continue his work at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.

"The interest in Michael and his coaching staff is testament to the club's remarkable success over the past three seasons.

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"Both the club and Michael are keeping in regular contact with a view to settling his future position as early as possible. We have made him aware, in the clearest way possible, of our wish for him to stay and are hopeful that will be his ultimate decision.

"In the meantime, preparations for the 2022/23 season are continuing as planned and the board will be readying themselves for a number of different eventualities in order to try and give the team the best chance to start the new campaign as strongly as possible."

Duff is on a five-man shortlist to become the Reds' next coach, while Blackpool are seeking a new head coach after Neil Critchley's departure to Aston Villa where he will serve as assistant to Steven Gerrard.

Duff is viewed as a candidate alongside Stoke City assistant Dean Holden, with the Lancashire club keen to bring in an up-and-coming boss with a track record of developing young players.

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Alongside Duff, 44, Burton Albion chief Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink and Manchester United set-piece coach Eric Ramsay are also contenders on the Reds' final shortlist of candidates.

On the search for a new head coach, Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford - who counts Barnsley among his former clubs - said: "We understand that there are a range of emotions that everyone is going through.

"This is a really important decision for us.

"It is so important that we get the decision right so we need to make sure, even though pre-season starts on June 20 and the season is eight weeks away, we are respectful to supporters who want to see us move with the dynamic.

"I hope they know that most of the decisions we have made in the last three years have tried to be the best ones. We have criteria that we think are important with different personalities and profiles.

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"We are under some time pressures but we have a set of criteria that we are looking for in the next candidate. This is a good job for someone, the club has come on so far and I hope the next person that comes in is here because they want to be here."

Barnsley hope to be in a position to name a new head coach by June 13.

Duff's contract at Cheltenham runs until next summer, although discussions over an extension have been ongoing for several weeks and he has now been made an improved offer.

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