Portsmouth's Championship rivals to lose managerial race as Norwich announce new head coach

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Pompey’s Championship rivals struggle in the race to find a manager ahead of summer transfer window

Pompey will soon be coming up against the likes of Leeds, Norwich and Sunderland after John Mousinho, in his first managerial role, led the Blues to League One promotion.

Taking over at Fratton Park in January 2023 when the club was in 15th place, Mousinho took the side to eighth place by the end of the 2022/23 season having gone on an unbeaten run of 11 games. In 2023/24, the club won 28 of their 46 League One games to clinch the title and promotion.

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However, while the Blues will head to the Championship in the safe hands of the 38-year-old former defender, many of their second-tier rivals have not enjoyed such managerial luck. Here is the latest news from Pompey’s Championship rivals with some rejoicing at new appointments and others scrambling to secure a new head coach...

Sunderland lose managerial race

Sunderland have been without a permanent manager for three months now after parting ways with Michael Beale in February. The Black Cats have long had their eyes on the ex-Reims manager Will Still and while it had been believed the Belgian 31-year-old would be heading to the Championship ahead of the 2024/25 season, it now appears he will be remaining in France to take on the reins at RC Lens.

Reports linking Still and Sunderland first appeared after Tony Mowbray was removed from his duties at the end of 2023 with them being fired up once again after Beale was sacked. However, the journalist Sacha Tavolieri has taken to X to reveal that Still “should become the next coach’ of Lens with his brother Nicholas set to join as an assistant.

The X post also noted that Still ‘had professional choices to offer himself to the English market’ namely Sunderland and Norwich City who had also held talks with the ex-Reims head coach.

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As Sunderland continue their hunt for a new permanent boss, figures like Paul Heckingbottom and Rene Maric continue to be mentioned with the Bayern Munich man recently seeing his name back in the mix after it looked like he would no longer be in contention.

Norwich City confirm head coach

Norwich City have announced the appointment of Johannes Hoff Thorup as the club’s new head coach. Norwich City parted ways with David Wagner following their failure to reach the Championship play-off finals and now they welcome the former FC Nordsjaelland boss Thorup on a three-year contract.

As manager of the Danish Superliga team, Thourp gained European competition experience as he led the side through the group stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League during the 2023/24 campaign. He is to be joined by assistant head coach Glen Riddersholm who was most recently head coach of the Swedish top-flight side IFK Norrkoping.

The 35-year-old Danish coach said in the club’s announcement: “I hope that the supporters are excited as well. I hope that we can create something together, it's so important that they are proud of the team. I feel the connection with the people, the club and the city. Everyone I have met with so far is so humble, nice and easy-going.

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“I have my ideas and I have my principles in the way that we are going to play, but I am also here to listen to some of the good stuff that has already been done. I have to make sure that I am very clear that this is something that we do together and everyone has to have that feeling.”

The Canaries ended their 2023/24 campaign in sixth position, ultimately losing 4-0 to Leeds at Elland Road in the Championship play-off semi-final.

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