MOTHERWELL’S board meet today to discuss a lengthy list of candidates to take over as manager following the sacking of Ian Baraclough last week.
The Englishman spent less than 10 months in the job despite keeping the club in the Scottish Premiership following May’s play-off final victory against Rangers.
A dismal start to this campaign, along with a shock exit from the League Cup at the hands of second tier Morton, prompted his dismissal, and the pressure is now on the Motherwell board to pick the right man for the job.
Here are the names that jump out among the bookmakers’ favourites:
Stephen Craigan (6/4)
Former Motherwell captain Craigan is the favourite for the role and with good reason. He has long established links with the club, is already a member of the backroom staff, and shows an in-depth understanding of the game while working as an analyst covering Scottish football for BT Sport. Leading the side to victory over Partick Thistle has only strengthened his candidacy.
Mitchell Van Der Gaag (5/1)
Looked so much of a certainty to take the job when it was last available that bookmakers stopped taking bets on the Dutchman. Motherwell then surprised everyone by opting for Baraclough instead. He’s among the favourites once more but has since found employment with FC Eindhoven, PSV’s city neighbours who are among the contenders for promotion to the Dutch top flight.
Simo Valakari (8/1)
The Finnish midfielder spent four seasons as a fans’ favourite at Fir Park before winning a move to Derby County in the English Premiership. He has stated his desire to manage Motherwell, if asked, and is enjoying a burgeoning reputation after turning minnows Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho into Finnish top tier title contenders.
Keith Lasley (14/1)
Mr Motherwell, should he wish to go into management after retiring, will undoubtedly be a serious contender for the Fir Park hot-seat at some point in the future. Whether that moment comes at this current time is another matter. If Motherwell are going to promote from within it will likely be Craigan over Lasley, though watch for him becoming a more serious candidate if Craigan opts for the comfort of the BT Sport analysts’ chair.
Stuart McCall (33/1)
Stranger things have happened. In terms of league finishes, McCall is one of ‘Well’s most successful managers since the 1930s. However, fans became increasingly exasperated during his final few months with the club, while many believe the current malaise dates back to his inability to build for the future while he was in charge, often relying on short term contracts which saw Motherwell receive no financial reward for what was a very strong team.
Luc Nijholt (33/1)
The Dutchman was a member of the 1991 Scottish Cup winning side and starred in Lanarkshire for three seasons. Since retiring in 1998 he has mainly stuck to coaching, but did manage Stormvogels Telstar, a Dutch second tier side, for three seasons and has previously stated his desire to return to Fir Park.
Terry Butcher (33/1)
Hibs fans will curse the name from now until eternity, but Motherwell have some fond memories of Butcher’s time in charge at Fir Park as he helped the club rebuild following administration. They may, however, be put off by his record of one win from 12 games so far at Newport County, a victory only achieved this past weekend.
Ian Holloway (33/1)
People always say the game needs characters and Holloway certainly fits the bill. Even if the matches are dull the post-game press conferences should provide some sort of entertainment. He’s currently a free agent having been sacked by Millwall earlier this year and previously expressed a desire to work in Scotland when the Hearts’ job was available in 2008.
All odds taken from McBookie.com at the time of writing