Mark Cooper looks set for head coach role at Sheffield Wednesday
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY could make a formal approach to Swindon Town for Mark Cooper to become their new head coach early next week – with Carlos Carvalhal likely to serve in a director of football role above him.
Thursday’s Yorkshire Post reported that Cooper would turn down any approaches to be Carvalhal’s deputy, but a potential solution to fit the Yorkshireman into Wednesday’s footballing structure may now see him offered a role as head coach working alongside Carvalhal.
Representatives of Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri and Cooper spoke earlier this week about the Robins chief coming in as Carvalhal’s No 2 and after that prospect was knocked back, fresh conversations have taken place.
Discussions have been held regarding Cooper, keen for a crack in the Championship after doing an impressive job with limited resources at his disposal at the County Ground, potentially coming in as head coach in an alternative scenario.
Such a role is something that would significantly appeal to Wakefield-born Cooper, son of former Leeds United legend Terry, with Wednesday also keen for recruit someone with a proven Football League track record to work with Carvalhal.
No official approaches have yet been made and no significant developments are likely until early next week regarding Cooper, who took over as Swindon manager two years ago following the departure of Kevin MacDonald.
Cooper, 46, has a year left on his deal in Wiltshire, and the Owls are likely to have to fork out a six-figure compensation fee to bring him to Hillsborough.
The former Peterborough United manager is looking towards his next long-term position as a manager/head coach and was linked with the vacant post at Sheffield United before the arrival of Nigel Adkins.
Carvalhal arrived in the UK on Thursday, having agreed personal terms on joining the Owls.
The 49-year-old, a friend of Jose Mourinho, has been out of management since 2012.
Braga-born Carvalhal has managed a host of clubs since finishing his career as a player in 1998 and also has experience as a technical director for Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates..
He looked set to join Portuguese outfit Pacos de Ferreira late last week before Wednesday successfully lured him with an offer in English football.
In total, Carvalhal has coached 14 clubs in a 14-year spell, with his longest stint lasting for three years, with his CV being the very embodiment of a journeyman coach, albeit with extensive experience, but none in England.
He has coached clubs in not just his native Portugal, but also in Greece and Turkey, sampling European competition football along the way, although it is fair to say he has not delivered a vast trophy trail.
What will provide more encouragement for Wednesdayites is that Carvalhal is known to be a proponent of attacking, passing football.
He can also boast successful and rewarding spells with provincial clubs Leixoes and Setubal in his homeland before getting his chance at one of the biggest clubs in Portugal in Sporting Lisbon.
Carvalhal was later lured to Turkey and worked at Besiktas for a spell, but despite a 46.8 per cent win rate, the Istanbul outfit decided to dispense with his services and he returned to the Portuguese Under-21 coaching set up.
One of the highlights of Carvalhal’s career came in 2002 when he became the first coach in Portugal to take a team in the third level to the UEFA Cup, after leading Leixoes to the final of the Portuguese Cup.
After beating Braga, Leixoes lost to Sporting in the final.
Carvalhal enjoyed his best season as a manager in 2007-08, when he took Setubal to the sixth position in the league – with subsequent UEFA Cup qualification, with the club posting one of the best defensive records in Europe that year.
Victory in the inaugural edition of the domestic League Cup followed against Sporting, whom he would later manage.
In his playing days, Carvalhal had three stints at home-town club Braga during his playing career and had a brief spell at Porto in the late eighties before being released.
In the following nine seasons – until his retirement at the age of 32 – Carvalhal also represented Beira-Mar, Tirsense, Chaves and Espinho, along with Braga, before moving into the coaching realm.
The Owls will visit Braga for a pre-season friendly on July 24 as part of a five-day training camp in Portugal.