Portsmouth manager search: why former MK Dons manager and Ipswich & West Ham coach Liam Manning is favourite - and the potential pitfalls he faces at Fratton Park

Liam Manning remains the bookies’ favourite to succeed Danny Cowley as the head coach of Pompey.

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But why is the currently-out-of-work former MK Dons boss so highly fancied for the job at Fratton Park? And what are the potential pitfalls of appointing the 38-year-old.

Well, The News’ Jordan Cross touched on that very subject in the latest edition of Pompey Talk: The Podcast.

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Here’s what he had to say on Manning as Pompey continue their search for a new head coach.

‘He is someone who is a bright, young coach,’ said Cross.

‘He’s got good grounding, working at places like Ipswich Town, West Ham; he’s gone abroad and worked in the academy at New York City; revitalised the fortunes of a Belgian second division side in quick time, turning them from bottom of the table to second or third; and then he’s gone into MK Dons, where he had a great time, getting them 89 points (last season) and into the play-offs.

‘Some might suggest he inherited a good team there from Russell Martin, so a lot of it was in place. But then that’s been followed, and his star has not been on the rise, by his sacking by MK Dons last month – and that makes it a difficult one for a lot of Pompey fans to swallow.

‘I can understand that, but there’s reasons for that. MK Dons – just look at their model – they keep selling their best players and how long is that sustainable?

Former MK Dons boss Liam Manning remains the favourite for the vacant head coach role at Pompey    Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty ImagesFormer MK Dons boss Liam Manning remains the favourite for the vacant head coach role at Pompey    Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Former MK Dons boss Liam Manning remains the favourite for the vacant head coach role at Pompey Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Images
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‘They sold David Kasumu, Harry Darling and Scott Twine in the summer. Now they’re big players, aren’t they! And they all went to Championship sides. They weren’t able to replace them and that’s a big part of what happened there since.

‘In terms of the fit, Liam Manning can work under a director of football as a head coach and his style of play is really defined and expansive – you’ll see Pompey playing the ball out and trying to take on the press of a side with confidence and asking a lot of them.

‘That raises the question of how he can implement that with the current group? Do they work? Maybe you have some defenders who are less comfortable on the ball than others.

‘And then a big red flag for me, with red flag being a bit harsh perhaps, would be: what has he (Manning) had in his career to prepare him for Portsmouth and the pressure that he will face?

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‘Because he will be conceived as an underwhelming appointment, let’s be honest, the starting point will be… there will be a low tolerance to it.

‘He’ll be under pressure very quickly. You’ve also got Pompey fans who have had it up to here with six seasons in League One. I see him having a very short honeymoon period before people start forming judgements on him.

‘Is that fair? I think others (managerial candidates) would get more slack. But, rightly or wrongly, that would be the circumstances that Liam Manning would face coming into the job.

Now, finally, you have to be a little bit careful because it could quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy if people are making their minds up about Liam Manning before he arrives, and if he faces that environment it will be very tough. That would be a legitimate concern for me.’