Steve Cotterill 5/2 to abandon Portsmouth for Birmingham

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Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill is the 5/2 favourite to succeed Alex McLeish as Birmingham boss after the former Rangers chief stunned the club by resigning by e-mail on Sunday, with odds of 4/6 indicating that he plans on joining rivals Aston Villa.

Peter Pannu, the Blues acting chairman, was furious with Big Eck’s conduct after what he perceived to be a big show of loyalty from the board to stick with him after a second relegation in four seasons, and having signed players on the Scottish tactician’s advice.

Opinion is divided over early frontrunner Cotterill’s performance at Fratton Park, with some feeling that to keep them in the Championship after another turbulent summer was an achievement and others believing that they had a top-six worthy team.

The ex-Stoke and Burnley boss has won numerous promotions in his coaching career but the highest level those have been achieved at were in League Two with Cheltenham and Notts County, so he wouldn’t be the kind of appointment to get fans excited.

Second favourite Billy Davies (5/1) is an interesting proposition having spent the entirety of his seven years in England in the play-offs, however the fact that he has only gone up once, and has just been sacked by Nottingham Forest may count against him.

Alan Curbishley is the most high-profile of the leading contenders at 6/1 and also fits the mould of the average Birmingham manager: relatively experienced, British and with a hint of pragmatism.

The one-time Blues player is proven in the Premier League but, having been out of work for almost three years since leaving West Ham, would probably step down into the Championship to lead one of the title favourites.

Despite the upheaval of the last 24 hours, the second city side are priced at 8/1 to win the title and 5/2 to regain their place in the top-flight at the first attempt.

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