Who should replace Kieran McKenna at Ipswich Town?
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Who should replace Kieran McKenna at Ipswich Town?

23/05/24 14:01

With news emerging out of Ipswich that Kieran McKenna is unlikely to extend his current contract and rumours linking him with Brighton, Chelsea and Manchester United, we take a look as to potential candidates to replace the 38 year old Northern Irish Manager.

1. Rob Edwards

Rob Edwards guided his Luton squad valiantly and whilst they couldn’t quite perform the miracle needed to keep them in the division, Edwards’ profile and stock has risen enormously and the prospect of another crack at the Premier League, this time with the Tractor Boys, could be enough of a pull to persuade him to leave Kenilworth Road and try a new challenge with Ipswich.

Ipswich’s owners are willing to splash the cash since taking over from former owner Marcus Evans in April 2021 and have supported McKenna with significant backing including the wages of Axel Tuanzebe from Manchester United. No doubt Rob Edwards would like to utilise his contacts and man-management skills to bring with him some of those who excelled for Luton – notably Elijah Adebayo, Carlton Morris and Tahith Chong.

2. Graham Potter

This may come as a surprise but I believe Graham Potter would be an excellent fit for Ipswich – whether they could attract him or not is another matter. McKenna and Potter have similar playing beliefs and I think Potter could get a fantastic tune out of this Ipswich side. He has been out of work since his departure from Chelsea in April 2023 and despite talks and links with a number of sides, Potter hasn’t yet secured another move.

The prospect of being able to continue McKenna’s work and really put his own style and possession-based football could be deemed an exciting opportunity, and with his track record of developing both players and clubs, there is a chance that the Owners could be tempted.

3. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Someone who has worked previously with McKenna is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer where McKenna acted as Ole’s Assistant at Manchester United. Solskjaer has been out of work since leaving Manchester United but he could be a very shrewd addition, if they are looking for someone to continue in McKenna’s footsteps.

Ole’s time at United saw them go 29 games unbeaten, the longest run of any side in English top-flight history, and under his leadership, they played a very free flowing style of football which would suit the desired Ipswich style of play.

4. Steve Cooper

Another man who I think will be in high demand is Steve Cooper who in recent days has been linked with the Norwich job. Cooper was sacked in December after a poor run of form left Nottingham Forest in 17th place. Despite this, Cooper guided Forest back to the Premier League after a 23 year absence. He managed to keep them up in their first season, finishing 16th, and some would argue he would have done the same this season.

Cooper prefers his teams to control the game by being brave on the ball and confident when passing, something we saw a lot from McKenna’s side in the Championship. Cooper's team attack at every opportunity using both space in the wide sectors - and he would look to utilise Leif Davis who recorded 21 assists in the Championship this season.

Another man who I think will be in high demand is Steve Cooper who in recent days has been linked with the Norwich job. Cooper was sacked in December after a poor run of form left Nottingham Forest in 17th place. Despite this, Cooper guided Forest back to the Premier League after a 23 year absence. He managed to keep them up in their first season, finishing 16th, and some would argue he would have done the same this season.

Summary: Who will replace Kieran McKenna at Ipswich Town?

If McKenna was to leave this summer, there would no doubt be a number of managers who would love to take on the opportunity. I also wouldn’t rule out Daniel Farke, current Leeds Manager, if Leeds do not secure promotion from their play-off final match against Southampton; and could Gareth Southgate be an option if he left England this summer? No matter who takes over, McKenna has done an incredible job in securing Ipswich back-to-back promotions, and it will be an incredibly tough job to take over from. Personally, I’d like to see McKenna stick it out and give it a go with Ipswich; but the opportunity to take over at a big club could be too much of a pull.

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