Next Derby manager: Seven possible Rams bosses analysed

Derby County are looking for their seventh new managerial appointment in under five years after Gary Rowett departed for newly-relegated Stoke City.

Who will be next to try their hand at taking the Rams back to the top flight? Right now, your guess is as good as ours.

He does’t have club sources and isn’t #ITK, but Ryan Burton analyses six names on the bookies’ shortlist for the Pride Park hotseat.


Coming off successive lower league promotions at Wigan and Portsmouth, the experienced Latics boss, 51, has earned plenty of plaudits and will be in demand.

Bury v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Energy Check Stadium
Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook during the Sky Bet League One match at the Energy Check Stadium, Bury.

Clubs managed: Southport, Sligo Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Chesterfield, Portsmouth, Wigan

Career highlights: After uninspiring spells at Southport and Accrington, Cook has since lifted the League Two title with Chesterfield and Portsmouth, before guiding Wigan to the League One summit with 98 points last season.

PROS: Experience of working on a limited budget and plays an attractive brand of attacking football to complement his promotion-winning experience.

CONS: Unproven at Championship level and having recently signed a new four-year deal with Wigan, paying out hefty compensation would be a gamble.


As a manager gets his sides playing entertaining football, the Brentford boss has unsurprisingly been linked with higher profile jobs recently.

Bristol City v Brentford - Sky Bet Championship - Ashton Gate
Brentford manager Dean Smith

Clubs managed: Walsall, Brentford

Career highlights: After working wonders in his first managerial role with League One Walsall, Smith, 47, guided Brentford to three consecutive top-half finishes and has turned them into potential play-off candidates on a shoestring budget.

PROS: Another manager happy to work with a tight budget and develop youth. His passing football would be a big contrast to Rowett’s direct approach and more easy on the eye.

CONS: Signed a new deal in February, has been the perfect fit for Brentford’s football model and has a good relationship with the club’s hierarchy. Could struggle to make the same impact in Derby’s current set up.


After a successful first full season with Preston, the young Scot has seen his stock rise dramatically.

Preston North End v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - Deepdale
Preston North End manager Alex Neil during the Championship match at Deepdale, Preston.

Clubs managed: Hamilton Academical, Norwich, Preston

Career highlights: After helping Hamilton to promotion in his first full season in charge aged just 31, Neil moved to Norwich and repeated the same feat. Last season saw him guide Preston to a seventh place finish and just two points from an unlikely play-off spot.

PROS: Has substantial Championship experience despite his age and would work well with what is likely to be a smaller Derby transfer budget.

CONS: Bases his game on a high press and pacey counter-attack, something he may struggle to implement successfully with the Rams’ ageing squad.


If Mel Morris wants a big name with a highly-decorated CV, look no further than ‘Big Sam’.

Liverpool v Everton - FA Cup - Third Round - Anfield
Everton manager Sam Allardyce during the FA Cup, third round match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Clubs managed: Limerick, Preston, Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, England, Crystal Palace, Everton.

Career highlights: Managing Bolton in Europe, guiding a hapless Sunderland side to Premier League safety and a stint as England manager. Take your pick, the 63-year-old is well respected in the game and it’s easy to see why.

PROS: Experience in abundance and a proven track record spanning over 27 years, Allardyce has put together a desirable formula that achieves results.

CONS: Highly doubtful Derby can afford him. Just received a generous compensation package from Everton and will be a shoe-in for the next available Premier League job. Does he have the ambition to succeed in the Championship? Doubtful. And that’s without even mentioning his style of football…


A third stint at Derby may be on the cards for the former Rams favourite, after enjoying a recent resurgence on the international scene.

England U19 v Germany U19 - International Friendly - One Call Stadium
England manager Paul Simpson

Clubs managed: Rochdale, Carlisle, Preston, Shrewsbury, Stockport, Northwich Victoria, England U20s

Career highlights: After enjoying a respectable playing career, which included a five-year spell at Derby, Simpson has managed and coached throughout the English leagues. His greatest achievement to date was leading the England U20’s to World Cup glory in 2017.

PROS: Still held in high regard by supporters from his time as a player and coach at the club. Likely to integrate youth players, will be desperate to prove himself after previous experiences at Derby.

CONS: Hasn’t managed in the Championship since being sacked by Preston in 2007 and his record as a club manager leaves a lot to be desired.


Could Derby try a continental boss for the first time in their 134-year history? They’ve tried most other options…

Quique Sanchez Flores File Photo
File photo dated 13-02-2016 of Quique Sanchez Flores.

Clubs managed: Getafe, Valencia, Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Al-Ahli, Al-Ain, Watford, Espanyol

Career highlightsHaving plied his trade in four countries since becoming a manager, Flores, 53, is well travelled to say the least. His biggest triumph came via Europa League glory with Atletico Madrid in 2010.

PROS: If we appoint the Spaniard, he would be our first overseas manager. Some fans are crying out for a culture change and this appointment would certainly bring that.

CONS: Having never held a managerial role for longer than two years, appointing QSF is unlikely to be for the long-term. Not ideal for a club in need of stability.


Another curveball appointment, Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer is looking to move into management – and he’s got to start somewhere…

Chelsea v Southampton - Emirates FA Cup - Semi Final - Wembley Stadium
Former Chelsea player Frank Lampard

Clubs managed: None

Career highlights: None as a manager, but a glittering playing career which included 13 major trophies at Chelsea, a century of England caps, and more than 150 club goals. From midfield.

PROS: Intelligent and respected. Has desire, one of his coaching badges and enviable contacts in the game which would surely help secure Derby the very best youth loan talent.

CONS: No amount of coaching badges compare to actual Championship managerial experience. A high-profile name who would land the national media spotlight on Derby all season, whether we like it or not.


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