Former Manchester United, West Brom and Portsmouth man favourite to take over at League One rivals of Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley
United relieved Robinson of his duties on Sunday after a 3-0 loss to Bristol Rovers on Saturday left the club with just one point from their last eight games. Defeat left them 17th in League One, five points above the relegation zone with the club acting to stop the slide.
In their statement confirming Robinson’s departure, Oxford said “the search for a new head coach will be thorough and extensive and is already under way.”
Appleton is the leading name with the bookmakers, having most recently been in charge at Championship side Blackpool. Appleton moved into management after a playing career which included spells at the likes of Manchester United, Preston North End and West Brom.
He has had stints in charge of Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and Lincoln City as well as two spells with Blackpool. He was also in charge at Oxford between 2014 and 2017, overseeing promotion to League One and twice reached the final of the EFL Trophy.
Appleton was sacked by Blackpool in January after one win in 11 games and with the club battling against relegation. Speaking after his dismissal by Blackpool, Appleton said he was open to a return to management.
“I’m in a situation where I’m 400 games into a managerial career and I’ve had some real good successes, certainly at my previous two clubs with Lincoln and Oxford,” said Appleton BBC Radio 5Live at the end of January.
“It’s not quite worked out for me at Blackpool as we know, but when I was first getting on the scene as a young coach that was the reputation I was picking up - that I was a coach and a developer of players, someone who was comfortable coaching and working at the elite level.
“I’ve got such an open mind going into the next venture I take because I’m happy coaching, I’ve been assistant manager in the Premier League with two clubs over a three-year spell. I’ve done the management.
“But I’ve also done a Masters in Sports Directorship, so I’ve got such an open mind. Whether it’s a coaching role or a managing role, whether it’s going into more of a senior role, I think I’m at that point in my career now as a 47-year-old man who’s happy to take on the next venture.”
Next Oxford United manager odds (correct as of 10.30am, February 27, 2023)
Michael Appleton – 10/11
Steve Cotterill – 4/1
Neil Critchley – 12/1
Grant McCann – 12/1
Danny Cowley – 14/1
Liam Manning – 14/1
Dean Whitehead – 16/1
Lee Bowyer – 16/1