BRADFORD CITY are expected to name David Hopkin as their fourth manager of 2018 on Tuesday after dramatically calling time on Michael Collins’s reign after just 77 days.
Collins, 32, the Football League’s youngest head coach when unveiled in mid-June, was sacked following what Bantams chairman Edin Rahic last night labelled an “unsatisfactory start to the season”.
City took just six points from as many games in League One under Collins and bowed out of the Carabao Cup at the first round stage after losing a penalty shoot-out to basement strugglers Macclesfield Town.
Hopkin, the club’s record signing after joining from Leeds for £2.5m in 2000, is understood to have been lined up as the club’s new manager.
The former Scottish international left Livingston during the summer and was believed to be on Bradford’s radar when they were looking for a successor to Simon Grayson, but he felt the time was not right for a return to Valley Parade.
It will be interesting to see how Hopkin fits into the European-style management blueprint that Rahic and co-owner Stefan Rupp introduced during the summer or whether the club changes its approach following today’s expected appointment.
This set-up, which in the summer led to signings being made even when there was no manager in place following Grayson’s departure in May, is understood to have put off several would-be candidates during the search that ended with Collins’s surprise appointment.
That hunt took more than six weeks before City settled on their Under-18s coach.
For Collins, the jump to head coach proved a big one with the optimism of an opening-day win at Shrewsbury Town soon giving way to a series of poor results and performances.
Last Saturday’s loss to ten-man Fleetwood Town proved to be the tipping point for a board whose popularity has plunged since the turn of the year.
The decision is based on an unsatisfactory start to the season and performances not being good enough. We anticipated a much better start and the results have not matched expectations.Bradford City chairman Edin Rahic
Stuart McCall’s sacking in February, just nine months after taking City to the play-off final, upset many supporters.
Subsequent revelations about the breakdown in relations between the former Scotland international and Rahic then led to many openly questioning how the club was being run.
These concerns only grew after Grayson turned down the offer of a two-year deal and City then spent so long looking for his successor only to turn to someone already on the staff at Valley Parade.
It means this next appointment is crucial for not only the Bantams’ prospects on the field but also the club’s owners.
Rahic, in a club statement, said: “The decision is based on an unsatisfactory start to the season and performances not being good enough.
“We anticipated a much better start and the results have not matched expectations.
“We have acted swiftly to appoint a new head coach who we believe will take us towards achieving our goals this season and beyond.
“We care massively about this football club and believe this decision has been made at the right time, with everything very much to play for.”