Michael Carrick or Robbie Fowler? The out-of-the-box options for the Bristol City job

by Kory Cook ¦ @bcfckory

After it was announced on Saturday evening that Lee Johnson had left Bristol City after four and a half years at the helm, I stray from the obvious candidates for the job, and take a look at who may have an outside chance at obtaining employment in the dugout at Ashton Gate. 

Gareth Ainsworth – Wycombe Wanderers

Ainsworth has been at Wycombe since 2012, making him the longest serving manager in English football’s top four tiers. He has led them from fighting to stay in the football league, to on the verge of promotion to the Championship, whilst having to deal with precarious financial positions throughout this period. His style of football isn’t pretty, but is effective, with Wycombe having the lowest number of passes in League One this campaign, and the highest number of long balls. He would bring enthusiasm and experience of promotion, albeit from League Two, but is surely someone the hierarchy at Ashton Gate are considering. 

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Ainsworth has guided Wycombe to the 2019/20 League One playoffs.

Liam Rosenior – Derby County

Perhaps the most surprising option on my list, but someone who knows the City and the Club, having been brought up in Bristol and starting his playing career in BS3. He always impressed me when on Sky Sports as someone who knows what he’s talking about, coming across as very tactically aware and would likely be very thorough with his analysis of other teams, if he was to become a manager. His time at Derby under experienced Philip Cocu, as well as player-coach Wayne Rooney, can only have enhanced his chances of being a successful manager. 

Michael Carrick – Manchester United

One of the best holding midfielders of his generation, Carrick has gone on to impress as a coach under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United. He takes the majority of the training sessions at Old Trafford along with vastly experienced Mike Phelan, and would be bound to strike up a high profile backroom staff to bring with him. If his playing career is anything to go by, his teams would be very possession based, but would also look to find a killer pass and take the game to opponents.  If City were to follow Derby down the route of an up-and-coming manager with a high pedigree in the English Game, there isn’t many better out there than Carrick. 

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Michael Carrick is impressing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

Mark Robins – Coventry City

Someone who the Lansdowns have been interested in before, Robins provides experience and a fast flowing, exciting style of football. His Coventry side, including Liam Walsh, ran away with League One this season – having already done the same in League Two a couple of years prior – all whilst having the club’s financial state and ongoing stadium saga hanging over his head. Robins also had a short spell as a player for City, so he will know what the club is all about and the way in which we are heading. 

Lee Bowyer – Charlton Athletic

Bowyer has impressed at Charlton since taking over 18 months ago; he’s another manager who has had to concentrate on his job whist having his and his club’s future hang in the balance. After getting promoted, his team came flying out of the blocks at the beginning of this season, reaching as high as second before a bunch of injuries left them struggling at the bottom half of the table. With a big budget and a secure financial position behind him, Bowyer could prove to be a huge success if given a chance at Ashton Gate. His style of football at Charlton this season has been brave when considering their position, as he still looks to take the game to teams. 

Ryan Lowe – Plymouth Argyle

Possibly the most similar to Johnson, Lowe has overseen back to back promotions from League Two with Plymouth, whilst playing a good brand of football with a relatively small squad. He is destined for bigger and better things, and would continue the club’s ethos of looking long-term when it comes to coaching and playing staff. He has also given youth a chance, including City’s Tyreeq Bakinson last season, so would fit the way City are heading to a tee. 

Robbie Fowler – Unemployed

Former-Liverpool striker Fowler impressed during his short time in Australia at Brisbane Roar, giving his squad a complete overhaul and lifting them from bottom half to playoff challengers. He has spoken about his desire to play attractive football as a manager, which means his teams are more likely to outscore opponents than scrape a 1-0 win. This is proved by his side conceding the same amount of goals as they scored before he left due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

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