Four-game Leeds United coach emerges as favourite to land EFL vacancy

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A former Leeds United assistant coach is the early favourite to become the next manager of an EFL club

Ex-Leeds United assistant coach Karl Robinson is the early 6/4 favourite with the bookmakers to become the next manager of League Two side Gillingham.

The fourth-tier outfit have parted company with manager Neil Harris after a 20-month spell in charge at Priestfield. Gillingham were relegated in Harris’ first season although the club were 10 points adrift of safety when he arrived in February 2022 and were then sent down on goal difference.

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They are currently eighth in the League Two table, level on points with Swindon Town and Mansfield Town who occupy sixth and seventh respectively. However, the club has stated it now ‘wishes to go in a different direction’.

A statement read: “Gillingham Football Club has today decided to part company with Manager Neil Harris, who has been in charge at Priestfield for just over 20 months. Having joined the club in February of 2022, Neil nearly kept the team in League One, getting relegated on the last day of the season on goal difference, making up a 10-point deficit in the process.

“The club has decided it now wishes to go in a different direction and will begin the process of identifying a head coach to take the team forward. David Livermore will also be leaving the club. In the meantime, Keith Millen will take control of first-team matters on an interim basis with immediate effect. The club wishes Neil and David best wishes in the future and we thank them for their hard work over the past two seasons.”

Robinson joined Sam Allardyce at Leeds for the final four games of the 2022-23 season as the Whites were relegated from the Premier League. Robinson had been offered the Elland Road vacancy in 2016 after getting MK Dons promoted to the Championship.

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Leeds picked up just one point from four games under Allardyce but Robinson previously stated his belief that the ex-Bolton, Newcastle and Sunderland boss could have kept the Whites up if given more time.

He told the I Had Trials Once podcast: “Sam and I were gutted about relegation. We all felt that we could still do something. After the Manchester City game when we only got beaten 2-1, that gave us a little bit of impetus, especially after they got beat by five to Liverpool and 5-1 against Crystal Palace – there were some big scorelines before we got there.

“We had games against Manchester City, who are the best club team in the world, and then Newcastle, who are probably at the best stage ever in their history. Then we had West Ham, who were about to go into a European Cup final, and our last game of the season was against Tottenham – for as much as people criticise them, if Harry Kane and Heung-min Son turn up, they could beat any team in the Premier League on their day.

“The second half of the West Ham game, we were all over the place – the nervous energy that footballers carry and what it does to a human is so hard to quantify, especially in football. The simplest of chances become the most difficult opportunities, you snatch at things and you do things too soon.

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“You’re trying to help the manager and help your teammates, and you’re desperate to do well, and that can be just as big of a problem as not caring – those two ends of the spectrum are equally as difficult to manage.”

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