Portsmouth dealt blow as Forest Green Rovers win battle to keep director of football - but Cambridge United man now in the frame

Forest Green Rovers have declared victory in their battle to retain the services of director of football Richard Hughes.

By Mark McMahon
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 8:02 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 5:46 pm

The Green owner, Dale Vince, boasted the League One new boys would be keeping their man after The News revealed on Sunday that Hughes was the leading candidate to become the new director of football operations at Fratton Park.

The former Everton recruitment officer has been a central figure in Rovers’ rise up the ranks from non-league football to the third tier of English Football.

After arriving as the club’s head of recruitment in May 2018, he was promoted to director of football in October 2019 – with his time at the Gloucestershire outfit coinciding with two play-off place finishes and promotion as League Two winners.

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After holding talks with Pompey, Hughes was recognised as the leading candidate to replace the now departed Roberto Gagliardi, who left his role at the Blues in February.

Now Vince has confirmed those reports by declaring his man is staying with the newly-crowned League Two champions.

Revealing the development via Twitter, he said: ‘Pleased to announce that @FGRFC_Official Director of Football Rich Hughes is not joining Portsmouth.

Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince. Picture: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

‘We wish them well with the search to fill their vacancy.’

As manager Danny Cowley embarks on another busy transfer window, with 12 players set to be out of contract and another squad reshuffle on the cards, the Blues were understood to be making their director of football operations appointment imminently.

It's unlikely that will be the case now – although The News understands Pompey have since turned their attentions to Cambridge United Sporting director Ben Strang.

Strang, who has worked as an academy recruitment scout at Ipswich and head of academy recruitment at Norwich, is in his second spell at the U’s.

Returning to the club in 2016 as head of football, United’s former chief scout has been operating as the Abbey Stadium side’s sporting director since May 2021.