Barnsley and Bradford City attract interest from home and abroad in managerial hunt

Paul Heckingbottom.
Paul Heckingbottom.
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BARNSLEY are scrutinising candidates from home and abroad in their quest to find a replacement for Paul Heckingbottom.

A number of names have been linked with the vacant Oakwell post, with the early frontrunner in the betting being Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley.

The vacant head coach role has also attracted interest from overseas, with the club owned by a consortium led by majority shareholders Chien Lee and Paul Conway, who also purchased an 80 per cent majority stake of French club Nice in June 2016.

Under-23’s coach Paul Harsley is expected to take charge of Saturday’s lunch-time home derby with Sheffield Wednesday before Barnsley fully focus on bringing in a permanent replacement for Heckingbottom, who took over at Leeds United on Tuesday morning.

After Leeds paid a £500,000 release clause to buy Heckingbottom out of his contract at Oakwell, money is available for Barnsley to target the right candidate.

Meanwhile, early favourite Cowley, who has enjoyed considerable success during his time at Sincil Bank where he is assisted by brother Nicky, insists he is fully concentrated on his current role with Lincoln, entering a definitive part of their season in League Two.

He said: “I am always focused on the here and now.

“To be fair, I don’t have time to focus on anything else.

“I don’t want to cut corners so my focus is on Lincoln City.

“It is nice to be mentioned for others as that means your team is doing well, which means I am doing well.

“I will take it as a compliment but we (Nicky and I) are fully committed to Lincoln City and we always like to finish what we start.”

Former Leeds United and Huddersfield Town manager Simon Grayson – out of work since leaving Sunderland at the end of October – is among several other leading names linked with the Oakwell post, with the 48-year-old also figuring prominently in the betting for the vacant position at Bradford.

Shrewsbury Town’s Sheffield-born manager Paul Hurst, ex-Leeds head coach and Barnsley legend Neil Redfearn and Everton under-23 coach David Unsworth have also been touted as possible successors to Heckingbottom at Oakwell.

Unsworth turned down the chance to become manager at Oxford United yesterday, but it is understood that a move to Barnsley or Bradford would potentially interest the 44-year-old.

Meanwhile, Bantams joint-owner Edin Rahic has said that the League One club have been “inundated” with interest from applicants following the decision to part company with Stuart McCall.

He said: “We have been inundated with applicants in the past 24 hours and have spoken to a number of high calibre individuals.

“This is not a process we can rush, but at the same time we appreciate the fans wanting to know that progress is being made.

“In the meantime, the existing back room staff will be taking care of first team affairs ahead of Saturday’s game. This structure will remain in place until further notice.”