CARETAKER manager Martin Drury will be in charge of Bradford City this weekend as the board contemplate a possible short-term appointment until the end of the season.
The Bantams were caught unawares by David Hopkin’s shock resignation after just 175 days in charge.
Hopkin, who informed interim chief executive Julian Rhodes on Sunday of his intention to quit, walked away from a contract that still had more than a year to run.
The 48-year-old feels City’s best chance of avoiding the drop into League Two is without him at the helm in the wake of Saturday’s hugely disappointing defeat against ten-man Walsall.
Drury, first-team coach under both Hopkin and Michael Collins after previously working in the club’s Academy, has been put in temporary charge for Saturday’s trip to Portsmouth.
Victory at Fratton Park would strengthen the 32-year-old’s hopes of having an extended run in charge, but The Yorkshire Post understands the Valley Parade hierarchy are also considering a short-term appointment until the end of the season.
Similar thinking in 2011, when Rhodes was joint chairman along with Mark Lawn, saw former captain Peter Jackson brought back to the club in the hope he could keep Bradford in the Football League.
The ploy worked, but Jackson was sacked early the following season, paving the way for Phil Parkinson’s arrival and the start of a five-year period that saw the Bantams largely reverse a decade of decline.
Gary Jones, Parkinson’s captain during the 2012-13 season that saw City reach the League Cup final and clinch promotion from the basement division, is believed to be the type of figure under consideration if the club heads down the route of a short-term appointment.
The Liverpudlian remains hugely popular at Valley Parade and regularly watches the Bantams in his role as expert summariser for BBC Radio Leeds.
Stefan Rupp, Bradford’s owner, spent yesterday locked in talks with Rhodes. The German businessman had coincidentally been in the country, when Hopkin quit, due to needing to meet the Safety Advisory Group, the safety certificate for Valley Parade having fallen to him following Edin Rahic’s departure late last year.
Hopkin’s reign lasted 28 league games, City winning seven and drawing six. There were also 15 defeats, including nine in the Scot’s first 11 matches in charge.
He was short-listed for Manager of the Month in December after winning three of five matches and losing just once, the Boxing Day trip to Sunderland.
Recent weeks, however, have seen results dip and Saturday’s loss to a Walsall side who played for 84 minutes with ten men following Andy Cook’s red card proved to be the final act of Hopkin’s time in charge.
“I am disappointed, but feel the time is right for me to step aside and allow someone to come in and attempt to keep the club in League One,” said Hopkin, still City’s record signing after joining for £2.5m in 2000.
“I have given my all over the past six months. I took on a tough job and have left no stone unturned in my efforts to help us climb the table.
“The club means a great deal to me, as a former player, and that is why I have made this decision – with a quarter of the season remaining.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the incredible Bradford City fans.
“This has been a hugely difficult season for everyone involved and they have shown me a great deal of support. I wish the club the very best for the future.”
Anton McElhone, brought in by Hopkin last December, will assist Drury at Portsmouth.
City then have a week before Peterborough United come to Valley Parade to decide whether to stick with Drury or make a short-term appointment.