Oxford United had an amazing start to the 2023/24 campaign, sitting second in EFL League One with 32 points after 15 matches. However, the Yellows’ season may take a weird turn now that head coach Liam Manning has left the club.
Manning took charge of the U’s in March 2023 and secured them a spot outside the relegation zone at the end of 2022/23. Despite the solid start at Kassam Stadium, the English gaffer has accepted the offer from Bristol City to manage in the EFL Championship and has thus departed Oxford.
Now, the club officials are tasked with appointing a coach that can build on Manning’s success, while the next Oxford United manager odds have become available.
Oxford United Next Manager Betting List
The frontrunner in the Oxford United next manager odds is Des Buckingham who already has a history at Kassam Stadium. Craig Short, who has been appointed caretaker, is in the running for the permanent position too.
|Oxford United Next Manager||BetVictor ODDS|
As we mentioned above, Des Buckingham is best-placed to become the next Oxford United manager as he already knows the club. At the moment, there are no credible reports regarding the club’s intentions but we can see why Buckingham is so high on the bookmakers’ list.
Buckingham, just 38 years old, was born in Oxford and would go on to play for the U’s academy as a goalkeeper. However, the Englishman could not make it at the professional level and in 2006, began working at the Yellows’ academy. Thanks to his fruitful spell at the academy, Buckingham was given a senior assistant role under Christ Wilder at Oxford United in 2013/14.
Since then, Buckingham has held multiple assistant and caretaker positions for clubs like Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City in the A-League as well as the New Zealand senior and youth teams.
In 2021, the Englishman began his solo career when he was appointed head coach at Mumbai City in India where he is still employed. Buckingham won the Indian Super League with the Islanders in 2022/23 and also reached the national cup’s final.
Another exciting appointment for Oxford United would be John Eustace who has recently lost his job at Birmingham City. Despite the Blues having a strong start to the season, the club decided to bring in Wayne Rooney as the new head coach so Eustace was relieved of his duties.
Birmingham City was Eustace’s first experience as a head coach at the professional level, having previously worked as an assistant at QPR and the Republic of Ireland national team. His time with the Blues can definitely be called a success, as he finished 17th in the 2022/23 EFL Championship – a five-year best for the team – and left the club sixth in the standings this October.
However, like the other names on the next Oxford United manager odds list, there are no concrete links between Eustace and the U’s at the moment. He was also considered for the previously-vacant positions at Millwall and Bristol City but continues as a free agent.
Also a free agent is Danny Cowley, as he left Portsmouth at the start of 2023. Compared to the previous names, Cowley knows the English football pyramid much better.
Cowley started his coaching career with Concord Rangers and Braintree Town in the lower leagues. Then came his spell at Lincoln City, his best achievement to date. Taking charge of the Imps in the fifth tier, Cowley would lead Lincoln to consecutive promotions and bring them to EFL League One in 2019 after a 30-year absence. Then followed less successful work with Huddersfield Town in the EFL Championship and Portsmouth in EFL League One.
Besides his experience, Cowley is an exciting coach because of his modern attacking approach. The 45-year-old wants his team to play a brand of football that not only delivers results but also brings the fans to the stands.
If experience is the main requirement, then not many coaches can compete with Steve Cotterill. The 59-year-old is currently on the job market after leaving Shrewsbury Town at the end of the 2022/23 campaign.
Cotterill started his coaching career at Irish club Sligo Rovers 1995, and has been coaching in England since 1997. One of Cotterill’s proudest achievements came with Cheltenham Town, as he took a semi-professional club from his hometown all the way to the third tier following three promotions.
Then, Cotterill would go on to work as high as in the EFL Championship with the likes of Stoke City, Burnley and others. Over the course of his career, the gaffer also won promotions to the upper leagues with Bristol City and Notts County.
Oxford United have been finishing in the upper half of EFL League One in recent years but still cannot get the long-awaited promotion. Perhaps Cotterill is the right answer then.
Craigh Short may be more than a short-term option for the U’s, it seems. The former Premier League centre-back arrived at Kassam Stadium in 2020 as an assistant coach under Karl Robinson.
Following the latter’s departure in 2023, Short was appointed caretaker for two matches until Liam Manning’s hiring by the Yellows. Now, the 55-year-old will act on an interim basis at least for the match against Leyton Orient on November 11.
While being on the list of potential next Oxford United coaches, Short has very limited experience as head coach with his only such spells coming with Ferencvaros in Hungary in 2009/10 and Notts County in 2010/11. After that, Short held mainly academy and assistant coaching roles at Derby County and Blackburn Rovers.
Perhaps the decision whether Short is a good option for the permanent job will be based on how the U’s perform in their upcoming matches.