Just 15 games into the new League One season, Oxford United head coach Liam Manning has departed the club and joined Championship outfit, Bristol City.
His assistant, Chris Hogg, has also joined the Robins, with the duo penning deals at Ashton Gate until the summer of 2027.
Liam Manning Leaves Oxford United to Join Bristol City
The 38-year-old, who joined the U’s in March following Karl Robinson’s sacking, kept the relegation-threatened club in League One with two wins and five draws from the final ten games.
This season, he had overseen ten wins from 15, leaving the club second in the division, just three points behind league leaders Portsmouth.
He also became the first Oxford boss to pick up a Football League Manager of the Month award since Ramon Diaz in January 2005 when he guided the U’s to four wins from five in August.
Speaking to the club’s official website, chairman Grant Ferguson said: “We reluctantly gave Bristol City permission to speak with Liam after he indicated he wanted to discuss their vacant managerial position with them.
“The club did everything it could to keep him here, but we move on and the project continues. Our focus now is to quickly appoint Liam’s successor and support Craig as interim Head Coach.”
Tim Williams, Oxford United’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “I am hugely disappointed to be losing Liam and Chris at this stage of the season, particularly given the support they had been given.
“However, we have already begun the process of securing the best possible candidate to replace Liam. This is a fantastic club with great training facilities and an exciting future – I have no doubt we will have huge interest in the role.”
Who Could Replace Liam Manning at Oxford United?
According to the Oxford Mail, former Birmingham City boss John Eustace has emerged as the early bookmakers’ favourite to replace Liam Manning.
Eustace was replaced by Wayne Rooney earlier this season despite getting the Blues up to sixth in the Championship.
The Oxford Mail reports that, according to The Sack Race, Eustace is 5/1 to take the job. Ex-Lincoln City and Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley is also an early favourite, at 6/1, while Gareth Ainsworth, Garry Monk and Steve Cotterill are listed at 8/1.
However, there is a lot of talk amongst supporters regarding Oxford-born Des Buckingham. The Mumbai City manager has a similar background to Manning, having spent a large part of his coaching career with the City Football Group.