Axed Crawley boss Barker the new fave for vacant Bristol City post

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Sitting in 22nd place in League One and having lost patience with head coach Sean O’Driscoll, Bristol City are in the hunt for a new manager.

There’s already been some early dollar placed on former Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cotterill at 7/2 and ex-Blackburn manager Michael Appleton (3/1), while recently displaced Premier League duo Paolo Di Canio and Ian Holloway feature high up the list of potential replacements at 8/1.

However, the shock early favourite is the freshly axed boss of fellow League One outfit Crawley Town, Richie Barker, at 2/1.

Despite guiding the Red Devils to a 10th-place finish last season, a string of bad results has seen him depart the Surrey club, though Bristol City could now open the door straight away.

Only 38, Barker’s successful promotion campaign with League Two Bury in 2010/11 had cemented his reputation as one of the Football League’s brighter emerging talents, but it remains to be seen whether Bristol City take a chance on him now.

Cotterill could be seen as a steady pair of hands to guide City out of the mire, given his extensive Football League experience as a manager, though recent rocky spells with Portsmouth and Nottingham Forest have dented his reputation somewhat.

Meanwhile, Appleton makes an intriguing prospect given his previously calamitous managerial hot-step in which he left Blackpool after just two months in charge, before joining Blackburn for a grand total of 67 days, with his tenure ending in March of this year.

There are also those Robins fans who would be more than a little dubious about appointing Holloway, who has very strong ties to their big rivals Bristol Rovers as both a player and a manager.

Di Canio could be the dark horse in the running, given the Italian managed just up the road in Swindon, where he achieved promotion before being lured to the Premier League by Sunderland.

It’s been a steep decline in fortunes for the Robins, who find themselves languishing near the foot of the third tier, having previously enjoyed six consecutive seasons in the Championship.

Nevertheless, the Ashton Gate outfit have only actually lost one of their last six league games and given the size of the club, who very nearly tasted promotion to the Premier League in the 2007/08 season, the vacant manager’s role is still an appealing prospect.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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