Rooted to the foot of the League One table with no goals to their name and only one solitary point accumulated, it was always going to be hard for Wade Elliott to hold onto his job at a dejected Cheltenham Town.
Losing 3-0 away to Peterborough United in the recent mid-week round of League One fixtures ultimately saw Elliott get the boot, Cheltenham down to 10 men after only five minutes played in Cambridgeshire with Posh eventually running out as routine winners in this one.
The Robins would end the match with nine men, but even with eleven on the pitch, they might well have struggled to pick up anything from their dismal away day.
Now, Cheltenham will hope they can get a fresh face into the building to inject some life back into proceedings and begin to turn around an abysmal start to the League One season.
Who is being rumoured for the Robins vacancy after Elliott’s departure? Is a former Cheltenham boss in the running for a return back to the club?
Here are some names heavily fancied for the mammoth task of turning around the already relegation favourites…
At this moment in time, the current Newport County boss is being linked with a switch from Wales to Gloucestershire.
Coughlan has impressed this campaign with the Exiles as manager, many predicting that Newport would struggle in League Two this season after sales to major players such as Mickey Demetriou and Aaron Lewis to fellow League Two outfits Crewe Alexandra and Mansfield Town.
Instead, at the time of writing, the Exiles find themselves in 12th spot with three wins from their first eight matches played.
The standout win from that trio of victories came on the second matchday of the season as Coughlan’s men showed no mercy when Doncaster Rovers travelled to Wales, Newport running out 4-0 victors with standout early season performer Will Evans helping himself to a brace.
Coughlan transforming Newport into a surprise package could well have caught Cheltenham’s eye, the 48-year-old being linked to the Robins.
The ex Oxford United manager will be eager for a return to management, especially to prove that his dismal end to life as the U’s boss was a one-off.
He still performed well as manager of Oxford over his five years at the club, getting his side to a Playoff Final during the COVID-19 impacted campaign and then also securing the playoffs the year after but falling short in the semi-finals that time around.
There would be question marks about whether or not Robinson is cut out for a basement battle – the former MK Dons man departing Oxford with the U’s slipping down the division at a worrying pace – but his experience at League One level does speak for itself in his other jobs.
With the aforementioned Milton Keynes, the 43-year-old picked up three League One Manager of the Month awards during his stay at Stadium MK whilst also achieving promotion to the Championship with Milton Keynes back in the 2014-15 season.
It remains to be seen whether Cheltenham can tempt Robinson to Whaddon Road, a mammoth task for whoever comes in to turn the fortunes around after Elliott’s departure.
Oxford United have sacked head coach Karl Robinson.
His side had picked up one point from eight games in League One.#BBCFootball
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 26, 2023
An overwhelming favourite for this vacancy purely for his past connections to the club, could Steve Cotterill return to management with the club that originally kickstarted his lengthy managerial career to date?
All the way back in 1997, Cotterill arrived to Cheltenham as a young manager keen to prove himself. He did just that, leaving five years later with a number of impressive achievements under his belt.
His first campaign saw the Robins lift the FA Trophy, with the following season seeing Cotterill spearhead a promotion out of the then Conference to break into the EFL.
He would notch up another promotion during his stay in Gloucestershire, winning the Third Division (later replaced with League Two) playoffs in his final campaign with the club.
Cotterill would go on to have a celebrated career elsewhere – managing the likes of Burnley, Notts County, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town – with more promotions and accolades added to the CV.
However, after a rather tumultuous exit from his last job in the form of Shrewsbury, his standing in the game could well be rendered irrelevant even in spite of Cheltenham’s torrid start to the season.
Cotterill could well fancy a homecoming for his next job role, returning back to Whaddon Road in a move that you would imagine would be popular with the Robins fanbase.
Club Statement | Steve Cotterill leaves Shrewsbury Town.
— Shrewsbury Town FC (@shrewsburytown) June 6, 2023
The Robins could well turn to another figure that has connection to the club for their next boss, Martin Devaney actually playing under Cotterill for Cheltenham.
Born in Cheltenham too, you imagine this would be a dream job for Devaney. He was a popular player during this time with the club, scoring six goals from midfield during the 2003-04 campaign after the Robins had won promotion.
Devaney also has the personal accolade of being the first ever player to score a Football League hat-trick for the Robins, netting three goals against Plymouth Argyle in 2000.
The 43-year-old has gone on to take up coaching at another of his former clubs in Barnsley, even taking the caretaker manager reins in 2022 after the dismissal of Poya Asbaghi from the Tykes.
The hierarchy at Cheltenham could well fancy this approach of appointing an ex player to the managerial hot-seat as it has worked wonders in the past, the decision to appoint Michael Duff – a former centre-back for the Robins – as manager proved to be a stroke of genius.
It’ll be intriguing to see whether or not Devaney is in the running for this job, beginning his fledging managerial career with his hometown club in the process.
Rumoured with the majority of vacancies in the third tier, it’s no surprise to see Clarke in the running to take over from the dismissed Elliott at Cheltenham.
Clarke has succeeded at this level, his time with Port Vale in the division would still be characterised as a relative success even if it did end up in him losing his job – the Valiants in 18th spot in the league when he exited after just winning promotion.
The 45-year-old has also proven to be a popular figure in most jobs he’s taken, especially at Bristol Rovers where he turned around a Gas side who had fallen all the way down to the pits of non-league to a team that ended up achieving back-to-back promotions to League One.
Clarke could well be the face the Cheltenham hierarchy go for next after Wade Elliott then, a manager who can get a down on their luck side performing again and win a fanbase over with positive and passionate displays.
What are your thoughts on this list for potential new Cheltenham Town managers? Anyone I’ve missed out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments sections below…