Johnson: Premier League material?
Skysports.com takes a look at the best home-grown managers in the Football League who will be hoping their talents can earn them a shot to take charge of a team in the Premier League.
Bristol City boss Johnson arrived at Ashton Gate with an impressive reputation after a terrific reign at Yeovil Town. Johnson, who turns 53 on Sunday, won 116 of his 221 games in charge of the Glovers, leading the club to the FA Trophy and into the Football League. Johnson, who has also managed Latvia's national team and Cambridge United, was appointed manager of Bristol City in 2005. Two years later, he guided the Robins to automatic promotion to the Championship. Johnson then led his troops to a play-off berth before reaching the final. They narrowly missed out in the showdown at Wembley to Hull City, but have already demonstrated encouraging form in the new season, losing just one of their opening seven matches.
Grayson is a young and promising manager, currently in charge of Championship club Blackpool. The former Leicester City, Aston Villa and Blackburn defender landed his first management job in 2005 as he took over at the helm at Bloomfield Road. Grayson, just 38-years-old, has won 55 of his 143 games in charge of the Seasiders, and in the 2006/07 he claimed promotion to England's second tier. After leading his team to a play-off berth, he disposed of Yeovil Town in the final at Wembley in what was a club record 10th successive triumph. Grayson, who has been linked with a number of vacant posts in recent months, ensured his side avoided relegation from the Championship last term as they finished 19th in the table. His charges have begun the new campaign in encouraging fashion, having won three of their previous four league games.
Belfast-born manager Jim Magilton is currently leading Suffolk outfit Ipswich Town. The 39-year-old took over at Portman Road in 2006 and guided the side to a 14th-placed finished in his debut term. The former Oxford United, Southampton and Ipswich midfielder has claimed victory in 42 of his 108 matches at the Tractor Boys helm, handing him a win percentage of 39 per cent. The ex-Northern Ireland international narrowly missed out on qualification for the Championship play-offs last season, losing out by just one point. The club have so far failed to recapture their promising form from the previous campaign, but Magilton will be hopeful he can turn things around and go one better by handing his side an opportunity to return to England's top flight.
Ferguson, son of one of the world's best bosses, Sir Alex, manages Peterborough United. At just 36-years-old, the Scot already has a promotion success to his name. He landed the position at London Road in January 2007 and led Posh to 10th in his first season as manager. The following campaign proved to be a successful one for Ferguson as he guided the club to automatic promotion from League Two, achieving a total of 92 points. He boasts an impressive win percentage record of 52.5, having achieved three points 42 times in his 80 encounters at the helm. Peterborough have begun the new campaign in mixed form, but are unbeaten in their previous three league outings.
Former Republic of Ireland international Sheridan is manager of League One club Oldham Athletic. Sheridan was awarded the role on a permanent basis in 2006 after previously occupying a caretaker boss position. The ex-Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Oldham midfielder has claimed victory 51 times in 119 fixtures in his official stint as head coach at Boundary Park. Sheridan, 43, guided the Latics to sixth place in League One in the 2006/07 season, but they were defeated in the play-off semi-finals by eventual victors Blackpool. Last campaign the club were unable to again claim a play-off berth, and instead finished eighth. Sheridan's charges have been rampant in the beginning stages of the new term and lie top of the table after recording five wins in their opening seven encounters.
Stockport County legend Gannon, 40, has been manager of the North West outfit since 2006. Gannon was appointed at the helm after he impressed during a stint as caretaker boss. The former Hatters defender ensured the club avoided relegation from the Football League in his first term in charge. Gannon shone in the following campaign as County missed out on a play-off position on goal difference. Last season, however, Gannon led his men into the play-offs and they disposed of Rochdale in the final at Wembley. Their term in League One this campaign as begun encouragingly and they have lost just one of their opening seven clashes. Gannon, who boasts a UEFA Pro License, has tallied 64 triumphs in 138 matches in charge.
O'Driscoll, 51, is boss of Doncaster Rovers in what is his second managerial position. His first came at Bournemouth, where he managed for six years. The former Fulham and Cherries midfielder moved to Keepmoat Stadium in 2006. O'Driscoll led Championship outfit Doncaster to Johnstone's Paint Trophy success in 2007 after the club defeated Bristol Rovers 3-2 at the Millennium Stadium. The ex-Republic of Ireland international guided the Rovers to promotion to England's second tier last season after they achieved a play-off berth in League One and then vanquished Leeds United in the final at Wembley. O'Driscoll, who has won 52 of his 117 games in charge of Doncaster, is likely to be eyeing safety as he embarks on the new term.
Former Wales international Trollope has been in charge of South West outfit Bristol Rovers since 2005. Trollope signed for the Pirates as a player in 2004 and landed the manager's job a year later. His debut season at the helm saw him guide the team to a respectable mid-table standing in League Two. The following campaign saw the club reach the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final, but they were defeated by Doncaster Rovers. However, Trollope was undeterred by the loss and claimed promotion to League One via play-off glory. Last term, Bristol Rovers managed a 16th-placed finish while they also reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. The 36-year-old's troops have struggled early on in the new season, but will be optimistic of a turnaround under his stewardship.
Promising manager Tisdale is currently in charge of Exeter City. He took the reins at St James Park in 2006 after time at Team Bath, where he embarked on a memorable FA Cup run. Once at Exeter, the 35-year-old guided the Grecians to the Conference play-off final in 2007 only to lose against Morecambe on penalties. His men bounced back, though, and the following term saw them reach the play-off final once more, and this time they secured their place back in the Football League via a 1-0 success. Former Southampton and Yeovil midfielder Tisdale is renowned for ensuring his sides play short, tidy football. Exeter are 13th in League Two after seven games of the new season.
Former Plymouth Argyle, Blackburn Rovers and Rochdale defender Hill took up a coaching role at Spotland after he retired from his playing days in 2003. He was handed first-team duties on a caretaker basis in 2006 and landed the position permanently a month later. He drove the side up the table in his debut term in charge, achieving an eighth-placed finish. The season after he reached the League Two play-off final, but lost to Stockport County. 39-year-old Hill has won 39 of his 85 games at the Rochdale helm. They currently lie 10th in the table after seven games of the new campaign and will aiming to again push for a place in England's third tier.
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