SECOND in the SPL, 90 minutes away from the League Cup final and still going strong in the Scottish Cup – it is little wonder that Terry Butcher’s sterling work with Inverness Caledonian Thistle this season have made him the No 1 target for Barnsley, who hope to convince him to join the Championship club in the next 48 hours
Inverness have granted the South Yorkshire club permission to speak to Butcher, although the Caley Thistle board remain hopeful that the 54-year-old former England captain will stay in the Highlands and complete what is proving to be the most successful campaign in the club’s history.
Barnsley are bottom of the npower Championship, and are looking to appoint their sixth manager in seven-and-a-half years following the sacking last month of Keith Hill.
Sean O’Driscoll, sacked by Nottingham Forest just hours after their Boxing Day win over Leeds, turned down the job at Oakwell and now Barnsley want Butcher.
Director Don Rowing said: “We’ve sought permission to speak with Terry Butcher and Inverness have agreed, so we expect to meet with him within the next 48 hours about the first-team manager’s vacancy.”
Butcher, in charge of Inverness since replacing Craig Brewster in January 2009, has guided them up to second place behind Celtic in the SPL table, while the club play Hearts in the semi-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup at Easter Road later this month.
Inverness have only lost against Motherwell and Celtic this season, are still in the
William Hill Scottish Cup and are top scorers in SPL so far with 44 goals.
The fact that the former Coventry and Motherwell manager – Butcher also had brief stints as manager at Sunderland, Sydney FC and Brentford – has achieved this with a playing budget of £800,000 at the Caledonian Stadium has not been lost on Barnsley, who operate on one of the tightest budgets in the Championship.
Inverness chairman Kenny Cameron said in a statement: “We have given Barnsley FC permission to speak to Terry. Given our current position in the SPL and the fact we have a cup semi-final on the horizon, it is inevitable that if any managerial positions come up our management team will no doubt be on the radar.
“We will be doing everything possible to ensure that Terry remains with the club and finishes what has been an incredible journey to date for us all.”
Meanwhile, another SPL manager could be targeted by a Championship club, with St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas reportedly one of several candidates for League One high-flyers Doncaster Rovers.
Doncaster are looking for a new manager after Dean Saunders quit to take charge at Wolves.
Senior player and former Hibs captain Rob Jones has been placed in temporary charge along with Brian Flynn, but Doncaster’s sights have also fallen on Lomas who has impressed since taking charge at McDiarmid Park in November 2011. He has guided them into sixth place in the SPL so far this season – just four points behind Inverness.