Mansfield Town supporters could learn the name of the club’s new manager as early as tomorrow.
A veil of secrecy lay over the candidates being interviewed today by chairman John Radford at a hotel location on the way to Nottingham.
Radford confirmed at the weekend that he had six strong candidates, which may have grown to seven if current caretaker Adam Murray threw his hat into the ring at the last minute this morning.
Murray was still undecided last night and kept his decision to himself this morning, but he remained the bookies’ favourite should he go for it.
Otherwise, leading the way for the bookies are former Stags international defender Colin Calderwood, ex-Stags midfielder Ian Baraclough, ex-Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws, former Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday boss Paul Sturrock, and former Accrington manager James Beattie.
Other names rumoured to be in the frame to replace Paul Cox are Sean O’Driscoll and Ronnie Moore.
Chad understands former Doncaster boss Dave Penney, a friend of chairman Radford, is not in the running, Barrow boss Darren Edmonson ruled himself out, despite being a strong candidate with the bookies, and other names like Gary Mills, Kevin Wilson and Ritchie Barker seem likely to be wide of the mark.
Other former Stags Greg Fee and Simon Ireland both expressed an interest but may not have made the final frame.
Ahead of the interviews, chairman Radford told mansfieldtown.net: “We’ll possibly be able to announce our new manager on Wednesday or Thursday.
“I’m looking for someone who has the connections that the club might need to take it to League One and possibly to the Championship. I’m looking for someone with a bit of experience. Having said that I won’t narrow my scope. It’s wide open between the six candidates.”
Calderwood would certainly seem to tick all the boxes. The 49-year-old former Scottish international made his name with 100 appearances with Mansfield before going on to have a great career, notably at Swindon, Tottenham, and Aston Villa.
His first managerial appointment saw him take Northampton to the League two play-offs and then promotion. Following that he took Nottingham Forest up from Division One to the Championship in 2006/07 after a late surge saw the Reds win seven out of their last eight matches.
He also had a season managing Hibs as well as assistant roles at Newcastle,Birmingham and Norwich.
Laws won promotion twice while manager at Scunthorpe United and has also been in the hot seat at Grimsby, Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley.
Sturrock is the most experienced of the candidates, having achieved promotions for Plymouth, Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon as well as spells in charge at Southampton, Dundee United and Southend, his last job from where he was sacked in March 2013.
His health has troubled him, Sturrock announcing in 2008 that he was suffering from a mild form of Parkinson’s Disease, but his career has continued.
Baraclough was a silky midfield player with the Stags who moved on to have a great career at Notts County and QPR, then into management at Scunthorpe in the Championship where he ended his playing days after over 550 appearances.
While with the Iron, he was assistant manager when getting promoted from League One.
More recently he has achieved great success as boss at Sligo Rovers, winning the club the Irish Premier League title for the first time in 35 years.
They also won the FAI Cup, their premier cup competition, and the Setanta Cup for the first time in the club’s history, which is the All-Ireland Cup, including Northern Irish clubs.
The sharp-suited Beattie, who played five times for England, had a highly successful playing career as a striker with clubs including Southampton, Everton and Sheffield United.
He ended his playing days with Accrington Stanley, where he took over as manager in May 2013. But that spell ended quickly as he left Accrington by mutual consent on 12th September this year with cash-strapped Stanley struggling.