Steve Cotterill to Wigan Athletic – Just rumours or something more serious?

With Wigan Athletic still very much searching for a new first team manager/head coach a new and perhaps unexpected name has cropped up.

Shrewsbury Town manager Steve Cotterill appeared on several betting sites on Thursday morning with odds ranging from 12/1 to 6/1. Prior to that he’d barely been in the picture but the events of recent days have certainly changed that…

Talking Wigan understands that Steve Cotterill WILL be interviewed regarding Latics current managerial vacancy and that discussions could well take place before the end of the week. The 58 year-old is under contract at Shrewsbury Town until 2024 so a compensation would have to be paid to the Shrews should Latics pick Cotterill as their man.

He’s not the only one in the running though. Former Blackpool manager Neil Critchley is also set to talk with the higher ups at Latics whilst contact has been made with several other coaches both in Britain and abroad. Yaya Toure’s name cropped up a few days ago but that conversation ended very quickly!

My initial thoughts on the potential of Steve Cotterill aren’t overly positive. Earlier on in the week Wigan Today reporter Paul Kendrick explained ‘It’s understood the criteria for the new man will include playing a positive brand of football, as well as understanding the budget, the club, the town and the culture.’

Cotterill doesn’t really fit any of that criteria besides arguably an understanding of the budget. His style of play is very direct and some would go as far as calling it outdated, but whilst there is still a place for that kind of football in the lower leagues Latics have proven that it doesn’t work anymore in the Championship.

He certainly wouldn’t bring ‘a positive brand of football’ with him. Shrewsbury average just 41.5% possession in League One this season, the second lowest, and are sixth bottom on expected goals. It feels like we’d be replacing Leam Richardson with a less exciting version of him and that won’t sit well with many fans.

Shrewsbury are 18th on the Expected Goals League Table, 4 places lower than the actual standings.

Its not yet known if Latics are in the market for a short term manager to ensure survival or a manager to start a long term project but again I’d suggest Cotterill isn’t really either of these. His Championship record is nothing to shout about and his style of play is built for short term results in League One and Two.

His last spell in the Championship came at Birmingham City where he struggled massively. He averaged less than a point a game, was sacked after 5 months and really failed to make an impression on the St Andrews crowd with 6 wins in 24 matches.

It was a similar story at Bristol City in 2015 when having secured the Robins promotion into the second tier he went on to pick up just 21 points from their first 26 games and got the sack. I’d suggest this shows that his style of football doesn’t really cut it at this level anymore.

His Shrewsbury side have been somewhat effective this season and find themselves in 14th place but through no real innovation or tactical nous. They’re pretty difficult to beat, focus on set plays and second balls and look to counter attack at all times regardless of opposition.

Remember, ‘a positive brand of football’.

Nothing is confirmed yet but Steve Cotterill is definitely closer than a lot of the names currently flying about. Watch this space…

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