FORMER Celtic striker Chris Sutton has raced into the lead as favourite to land the vacant managerial post at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, following the departure of Terry Butcher to Hibernian.
Three major bookamkers have installed Sutton as the favourite to take the reins at the Caledonian Stadium, despite former Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels, and Spaniard Antonio Tapia declaring an interest last week.
The ex-Lincoln City boss, who was interviewed by Inverness in 2009 before Butcher took over, spent 12 months at Sincil Bank, before leaving the post for personal reasons.
Of his 50 games in charge, Lincoln won 14 games, drawing 13 and losing 23 but Sutton kept them in the football league for the 2010/11 season.
The 54-year-old Tapia, who has previously managed at Malaga, Real Betis and Tenerife, is keen to try his hand at Scottish football and was tentatively linked with the Hibs job prior to Butcher’s appointment.
The Daily Express are reporting that Tapia’s agent, Jose Martinez, has been in discussion with the Caley Jags board in a bid to convince them of the Spaniard’s credentials.
Martinez told the Express: “Mr Tapia is very keen to establish himself as a coach in the UK and sees the Inverness job as a wonderful opportunity.
“It is a longstanding ambition. He has 30 years’ experience and is very highly thought of in his home country.
“Quite recently, he was rated as one of the top 5 coaches in Spain. He is a good friend of Josep Guardiola and he is one who could offer a recommendation for Antonio’s candidacy.”
Martinez added that Tapia felt the Inverness squad would need ‘little alteration’, but he would draw on his contacts in Spain and the wider UK in order to bring more talent to the club.
Kenny Shiels confirmed that he was interested in the job, adding: “They’ve got a great community spirit up there.”
Striker Richie Foran signed a new three-year deal with the Highland side yesterday, who are expected to draw up a shortlist for the manager’s position later this week.