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McLeish new favourite for Boro, but punt should be taken on Phelan

| 25.10.2013

Three names have now moved considerably clear in the market to be the next Middlesbrough manager, with Mike Phelan seeming the more prudent choice over Alex McLeish and Mark Venus.

McLeish has been the most backed in recent days and is the new 13/8 favourite in the betting, even though he has arguably not taken a club forward in six years.

He has not enjoyed a win percentage of greater than 37 per cent at any of Birmingham, Aston Villa or Nottingham Forest and he has, in fact, got worse at each new club.

Bearing in mind his poor record at Nottingham Forest, where a better squad was available than at Middlesbrough currently, there is little to suggest McLeish is the man to oversee a promotion.

Venus has also been supported into 9/4, but a manager with a different set of ideas is arguably what Boro need and there is a strong possibility that the former Ipswich defender will be using the same full flipchart as his potential predecessor, given he was Tony Mowbray’s assistant.

Phelan has drifted slightly in the Boro betting to 7/4, having touched odds-on, and the big negative with him is that he has no prior managerial experience.

However, Boro have had success in the past by handing managerial starts to Bryan Robson, who was responsible for two promotions, and Steve McClaren.

McClaren guided the club to their highest ever Premier League finish of seventh, won a League Cup and reached a European final. Like Phelan, he also learnt a chunk of his trade as Sir Alex Ferguson’s understudy at Manchester United=, while Robson spent more than a few years learning from Sir Alex too.

Although, there is, of course, the possibility that Phelan could be more Southgate than McClaren, which may see Middlesbrough battling to avoid relegation to League One, rather than promotion to the Premier League.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.