Blackburn set for Appleton talks
Blackburn will today hold talks with Michael Appleton over becoming their third manager this season after he was granted permission to speak to the Blackpool boss.
Appleton appears set to follow Steve Kean and Henning Berg in the Ewood Park hotseat despite only succeeding Ian Holloway at Bloomfield Road on November 7.
Rovers announced a formal approach for the 37-year-old on Wednesday evening and, following a day of negotiations led by managing director Derek Shaw, Blackpool cleared the way for Appleton and first team coach Ashley Westwood to discuss terms.
A statement on Blackburn’s official website read: “Following lengthy discussions with Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that the club has been granted permission to speak to Michael Appleton and Ashley Westwood about the vacant manager’s position at Ewood Park.
“Talks will take place tomorrow (Friday).”
Tomorrow evening Rovers travel to Wolves in the npower Championship looking for a fourth consecutive win under caretaker boss Gary Bowyer.
Such has been the improvement demonstrated under Bowyer and head of youth Terry McPhillips, Blackburn last week announced the duo would remain in charge of first-team affairs until the end of January – a scenario that now seems highly unlikely.
“We’re not disappointed at all,” said Bowyer. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time working with the players.
“We’ll just keep going. We will be notified by the board in terms of what happens and then we’ll carry on with whatever role we have to do.”
Blackburn forward Colin Kazim-Richards took to Twitter give his backing to Bowyer.
Shortly after Blackpool gave Appleton permission to open talks, Kazim-Richards tweeted: “Pls no”
Having been challenged by a number of fans, he added: “To let you no whoever is in charge my priority is the same £Promotion but I have to say playing under Gaz after the last has been fresh air.
“I’m not talking any manager in particular I’m just saying tht this is the best run we’ve had this season something’s going right..”
Blackburn’s outspoken global advisor Shebby Singh appears to have been marginalised during the pursuit of Appleton, with Shaw taking a prominent role in proceedings amid a widely reported breakdown in relations between the pair.
Wayne Wild, co-chairman of the Rovers Trust – a supporters’ pressure group committed to fan ownership at Ewood Park – fears the board may be repeating mistakes of recent years against the unseemly backdrop of a public spat.
He said: “There’s obviously a divide in the boardroom and that can only be bad for the football club when everybody should be coming together trying to get the ultimate aim this year, which is promotion.
“It’s causing supporters to walk away. People are just saying they’ve had enough of the comical circus of the way the club is being run and they’re voting with their feet.
“We don’t have a crystal ball – we can’t say whether Michael Appleton or anybody else will do a good job.
“The problem is they’ve done the third gamble management appointment. For three managerial appointments on the bounce they’ve gone for an inexperienced manager.”