BLACKBURN Rovers’ aim is to appoint Paul Lambert’s replacement as soon as possible – but they are willing to wait to get the right man for the job.

Rovers have started to build up a shortlist of candidates to take over from Lambert after he leaves the club following the final game of the Championship campaign at home to Reading on Saturday.


They want a boss who will be willing to work within the rules of Financial Fair Play and the loss of parachute payments next season – and one who has a track record of bringing youngsters on.

They have also made it clear they want Lambert’s assistant manager Alan Irvine, first-team coach Rob Kelly and goalkeeper coach Laurence Batty to remain at the club.

Rovers director Mike Cheston, who is now in charge of the day-to-day running of operations at Ewood Park, said: “We’ve started the process.

“We’ve already built up a shortlist, which we’re still compiling, as we’re still getting applications.

“Between the board, key staff within the club, and India, we’ll look to see who to interview and then take it from there.

“The process is still at any early stage and once suitable candidates have been identified, the appropriate approach will be made in consultation with management in India.

“Time is on our side. It’s not mid-season. We will not be rushing into an appointment although clearly we would like to have the new manager in place as soon as possible.

“It is an important appointment for the club so we want to ensure we get it right.”

Former Wigan Athletic manager Paul Jewell, Rovers’ 1995 Premiership title-winning captain Tim Sherwood, the club’s current under-21 assistant coach David Dunn, ex-Blackpool boss Ian Holloway, and MK Dons manager Karl Robinson have all been linked with the position by bookmakers.

However Dunn, who is enjoying working as right-hand man to Damien Johnson, is not thought to be interested into stepping back into senior management.

Asked whether the club has a type of manager in mind, Cheston said: “Somebody with the right credentials, somebody who impresses us, and somebody who has good ideas about the way they want to take the team forward.

“He has to be mindful of the fact that next year we will not have parachute payments, and that we will have to operate within FFP.

“So he will have to be well aware of that and also have a good record of bringing players through an academy. There is a lot of good work being done in our academy and in our under-21s.

“We feel we have something to offer to the incoming candidates – and there are a lot of quality candidates out there.”

Lambert has activated an escape clause in the two-and-a-half year deal he signed with Rovers in November.

But his coaching team of Irvine, Kelly and Batty remain contracted to the club.

And Cheston said: “We’ve had initial conversations with them but we need to explore what their thoughts are going forward. But we certainly want them to stay.

“When they were brought in – and I include Paul Lambert in this – most people thought they were really good appointments.

“It’s disappointing what’s happened with Paul but we still have Alan Irvine, Rob Kelly and Laurence Batty – and that’s a good line-up to have.

“We’d like them to stay but we’ll have to speak to them over the coming days and weeks.

Cheston added: “We’d like the new manager to work with the existing management.

“Let’s see what happens in the interview process. But certainly we want to retain those people that we are talking about.”

Tomorrow’s Lancashire Telegraph – full Q&A with Mike Cheston on Rovers’ board structure, financial situation, owners Venky’s, and the future of the club’s out-of-contract and on-loan players.