Rovers’ managerial search is very much in its infancy, which is why there has been little movement in the bookmakers odds when it comes to the man to replace Tony Mowbray in the Ewood Park hotseat.

Much of that has centred on the fact that the club haven't as yet officially confirmed the departure of Mowbray who has been in charge for over five years.

Indeed, it is only Mowbray who has spoken publicly on his future, confirming there has been no offer made to him to extend his stay, and keen to address his work-life balance, has stated that Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City will be his final match in charge.

On the back of those comments at his pre-match press conference last Thursday and again after the weekend defeat to Bournemouth, out-of-work managers, through their representatives, have contacted the club to state their interest in the job.

The club haven’t actively encouraged managers to get in touch, nor have they made any approaches.

So far, the only manager to speak on the record about the job is Wycombe Wanderers’ Gareth Ainsworth.

The boyhood Rovers fan said he was flattered by the links when asked, but was focused on the Chairboys’ play-off semi-final against MK Dons, having also been touted as a possible contender for the QPR job with Mark Warburton set to leave Loftus Road this summer.

Bookmakers’ odds are particularly volatile in these markets, with even the slightest inclination of a potential move bringing about a big shift.

Indeed, former Derby County manager Phillip Cocu wasn’t in the initial running, but then quickly priced up at 6/1 on the back of media reports that he was interested.

Ainsworth was short odds from the start, unsurprising given his links to the club, while a number of other former Rovers players were in the list, as was an ex-manager in Michael Appleton. His inclusion will have been linked to the fact that he was relieved of his duties at Lincoln City on the same night as the market for Mowbray’s replacement was opened.

Daniel Farke, twice a Championship winner with Norwich City, wasn’t in the original odds either, but is a leading contender in the eyes of Rovers fans given his previous success at this level, and have backed him in to 2/1 favourite.

The fact that Damien Johnson, the club’s current technical coach and head of player development, at 6/1 shows just how little is known at this stage.

Mowbray spoke openly about his ideal replacement, believing a focus on player development and nurturing young talent as key to help take the club forward. Were they to go for a proven winner, then Mowbray believes it would need a change of philosophy and greater investment in the team for that to marry up.

Rovers title-winner Jason Wilcox, now Academy director at Manchester City, MK Dons boss Liam Manning, Forest Green Rovers chief Rob Edwards and former Everton Academy chief David Unsworth are all 20/1 or under with the bookmakers and have a recent history of working with young players.

They would be more in-keeping with Mowbray’s idea for the club, and a likely reason that Barry Lewtas, Liverpool’s Under-23s manager, made an appearance at 33/1.

The list also includes those previously linked or interested in the role. Nigel Adkins, who was in line to replace Owen Coyle prior to Mowbray’s appointment, is at 33/1, the same odds as Mark Hughes, a return to Ewood Park having been previously mooted.

Former Preston North End manager Alex Neil, now with Sunderland, was previously a regular at Ewood Park for Rovers matches and is 25/1. He was also touted as a possible conteder for the Burnley job.

Yet one man likely to be in the conversation who has had little mention so far is Jonathan Woodgate.

Woodgate, aged 42, has recent experience of managing in the Championship, as well as an Academy background, and could be seen as fitting the bill.

He took charge of boyhood club Middlesbrough in June 2019, a position he held for just a year before being replaced by Neil Warnock after winning nine of his 41 matches in charge.

Woodgate then spent six months out of the game before being named as first-team coach at Bournemouth. He was then installed as interim manager and guided the Cherries into the play-offs, only to be beaten by Brentford.

The former England international left the club at the end of the 2020/21 season, having won 13 of his 24 games in charge at the Vitality Stadium. 

Priced at 33/1, Woodgate is now working in the media, and while it is unclear how much of interest he would have in a return to management at this stage, but he looks far better value than some of those with shorter odds.

For clarity, any odds mentioned are those from Championship sponsors Sky Bet who were first to introduce a market for the next Rovers manager.

Interestingly, the first 14 names on the list, Cocu and Wilcox are the oldest at 51, while Roy Keane is 50, but all the others are younger, some significantly so.

If you want to use age as a factor for Venky’s appointments so far, Mowbray was 53, four years older than Owen Coyle (49), while Paul Lambert was 46, Gary Bowyer 41, Henning Berg 43 and Appleton 37.

In terms of being in or out of work, Mowbray had been without a club for six months when appointed, while Coyle’s time with Houston Dynamo came to an end a week before his arrival at the club.

Lambert had been sacked by Aston Villa nine months prior to taking on the Rovers job, Bowyer having graduated through the ranks to take the top job, while Berg had been sacked by Lillestrom a year prior to his appointment.

Appleton is the only manager to have been plucked from another club, with Rovers having made an approach to Blackpool prior to him making him their third permanent manager of the 2012/13 season.

How much validity can be placed in the bookmakers odds is particularly questionable at this stage. Mowbray described his own appointment as a whirlwind, and things can change very quickly.

It is far too early for anyone to be called a favourite or a frontrunner, and speculation will only generate more pace as the respective seasons come to a close.

For Venky’s, this is only a fourth appointment in nine years, and one that will be watched with interest.