Sunderland should look to QPR and Sheffield Wednesday for lesson in manager hunt: View | OneFootball

Sunderland should look to QPR and Sheffield Wednesday for lesson in manager hunt: View | OneFootball

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Football League World

·21 February 2024

Sunderland should look to QPR and Sheffield Wednesday for lesson in manager hunt: View

Article image:Sunderland should look to QPR and Sheffield Wednesday for lesson in manager hunt: View

Sunderland are once again searching for a new head coach following the decision to part ways with Michael Beale.

The 43-year-old lasted just 63 days in charge before being dismissed by the Black Cats.

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Beale replaced Tony Mowbray in December, but his appointment was met with little fanfare after his previous stints at QPR and Rangers, which both ended in disappointment.

Four wins from 13 games in all competitions left the team seven points adrift of the play-off places.

Mike Dodds has been placed in charge of the Black Cats until the end of the campaign, with the club set to take its time in appointing Beale’s long-term successor.

Dodds previously oversaw two games this season in between coaches, earning wins over West Brom and Leeds United, but will now face a sterner test by managing the final 13 fixtures of the campaign.

The first name to be given concrete links to Sunderland’s managerial vacancy has been Will Still.

The 31-year-old was linked with the role back in December, but a move failed to materialise, leading to Beale’s arrival instead.

The Englishman has never worked as the main coach in his native country, but is currently in charge at Ligue 1 side Reims, who sit eighth in the French top flight table.

He is considered a promising, upcoming coach that has a lot of potential to go on to big things.

Given Sunderland’s own philosophy when it comes to player recruitment, this is a move that would make a lot of sense.

It would fit in well with their vision for the club, and their identity, and could prove an exciting prospect for supporters.

It remains to be seen whether Still can be convinced to join the project, although he has admitted he would welcome a move to the Championship.

But there is no doubt that he would be a very promising appointment.

A lack of Championship experience has not proven a barrier to good performances this year, with multiple names proving to be improvements on more experienced coaches.

QPR stuck with Gareth Ainsworth far longer than they should have, with Martí Cifuentes doing a great job to turn around the team’s fortunes since arriving as his replacement from Swedish football.

The Spaniard was plucked from relative obscurity, certainly from the perspective of those in English football, and he has guided the Hoops to within touching distance of safety from relegation after the drop seemed so likely under the previous manager.

The 41-year-old is a young coach with new ideas that has brought a more progressive and attractive style of play to Loftus Road, which has got QPR supporters hopeful.

Even if the team ultimately still goes down, his work in creating a more positive atmosphere has earned him a lot of credit and there will be optimism that he can lead the team back to the Championship quickly.

There is a similar story at Sheffield Wednesday, who were in an even worse position under Xisco Munoz.

This was a coach that previously earned promotion from the second tier to the Premier League with Watford, but he failed to get anything from the Owls' squad and underwhelmed significantly.

But under Danny Rohl, the Owls are now within just a few points of the teams sitting outside the bottom three, despite only earning three points from their opening 13 games this term.

Again, he has brought a more aggressive style of play that Wednesday fans have really appreciated, with greater tactical ideas than those who've worked in the second tier before.

This was a smart appointment, with the club finding a promising, young coach with little experience in his CV but an enticing background as assistant to more high-profile managers.

Similarly to QPR, if the club does go down, then the Yorkshire outfit should be optimistic that he is the man to bring them back to the second tier in the long-run.

Given that context, it really wouldn’t be a surprise to see Sunderland go further afield than English football for their next appointment, even if Still isn’t the man for the job.

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