Ex-Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United man emerges as surprise favourite for EFL vacancy

One former Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United man is the favourite to take over at a League Two club
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Former Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce has emerged as a surprise favourite with the bookmakers to be appointed at League Two side Gillingham.

The fourth-tier outfit parted company with manager Neil Harris last week 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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At the time of his sacking they sat eighth in the League Two table, level on points with Swindon Town and Mansfield Town who occupied sixth and seventh respectively. However, the club stated it ‘wished to go in a different direction’.

A statement released last week 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.”

Gillingham beat MK Dons last weekend in their first game since Harris’ departure but were hammered 5-1 by Portsmouth in the Football League Trophy on Tuesday. They now sit third in the League Two table, just two points behind league leaders Notts County.

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Bruce is the current 3/1 favourite to be appointed, having started his managerial career with the Blades in 1998. He also spent time at Bramall Lane as a player. He is best known for his spell with Manchester United between 1987 and 1996 but he played over 200 times for Gillingham after coming through the club’s youth set-up. He made his debut for the club in 1979.

He had a an 18-game spell in charge at Sheffield Wednesday between February 2019 and July 2019 but left the Owls in order to take up a position with Newcastle United. His last job in management was with West Brom, a role he was sacked from in October 2022.