Yesterday morning, the next manager market took a sharp turn as we saw some new names listed. Some were very left field, including Anthony Barry who remains the favourite with his odds shortening all the time. But who is he?
Barry, 34, is currently Assistant Manager to Paul Cook at Wigan Athletic. The Liverpudlian had a decent if low-key playing career, operating primarily in non-league and League Two with the likes of Accrington Stanley, Yeovil Town, Chester, Fleetwood and Forest Green.
He hung up his boots following a spell at Wrexham in 2017 and played twice against Rovers during that 16/17 campaign.
Barry then moved into coaching and has become a key part of Paul Cook’s management team at Wigan, helping the club achieve promotion to the Championship.
However, his sudden emergence as a candidate for the Tranmere job is a surprise, let alone as favourite. With all due respect, it’s fair to say that he won’t be top of any fans’ lists of names they’d like to see replace Micky Mellon.
We’ve been down the route of appointing a young, unproven manager in League Two before when Rob Edwards came in. That was a disaster, one which subsequently ended in relegation out of the Football League, all be it a job finished off in horrendous style by Micky Adams.
League Two is a dangerous level to be at in so many ways. One bad season and clubs are in threat of being in the National League. A bad start can set the tone for the entire campaign and the nerves of fans can make things pretty grim. With this in mind, appointing such an unproven manager is certainly going to worry some fans.
However, there is going to be risk in any appointment, there always is. Also, if you look at Barry’s career in detail you can see where he may be given a helping hand in terms of getting in front of Mark Palios.
Firstly, he played under Micky Mellon at Fleetwood and was also a teammate of the likes of Steve McNulty, Jeff Hughes, Andy Mangan and current Rovers skipper Scott Davies. He was also a teammate of James Norwood at Forest Green and obviously now works alongside another former Tranmere man in Cook.
So, if references and recommendations from people known to Palios make a difference, then that may give this some legs.
We’ve reached out to a couple of sources this morning to try and get a steer how likely this is. We understand Barry has applied for the position. However, there are many names in the running right now and a final shortlist has not been decided upon.