Exclusive: Newport County set to appoint ex-Bristol Rovers manager

Coughlan managed Bristol Rovers for a season and is now in line to manage nearby Newport County

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Former Bristol Rovers manager Graham Coughlan is set for a return to management with Newport County, BristolWorld understands.

The 47-year-old is set to take the reins at Rodney Parade, replacing James Rowberry, who the club parted company with early this month. Rowberry won his first game in charge against Rovers but missed out on the play-offs last season and had a slow start in the current campaign.

Coughlan had been a contender for the vacant position at Doncaster Rovers after parting company with Gary McSheffrey. He was reportedly on a two-man shortlist along with former Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell, but the Exiles have moved quickest.

The Welsh club’s sporting director Darren Kelly spoke of how an appointment would hopefully take place before next Saturday’s League Two match with Colchester United. The new manager could be in the dugout before the weekend.

“Things are progressing well and hopefully they will be concluded very soon,” said caretaker manager Kelly to the South Wales Argus. I would say it will be within days but the most important thing is that it’s not a rushed job.

“It’s making sure it’s the right person and the right fit for this football club, because we want to start getting the wins under our belt with a person making the right impact.

“The last week there has been a lot of hard work done by everybody at the club to make sure that we get the right appointment.”

At the time of the Newport boss' arrival, they will take over a team in 19th-placed, two points above the relegation zone with Crawley Town also looking for a new manager.

The Dublin-born manager has been out of work since a brief stint as joint-manager of Sheffield United’s Under-21’s back in March 2021. The Blades have since had Jack Lester in the role.

Coughlan was manager of Rovers for just over a year, taking over from Darrell Clarke in December 2018 having initially been the defensive coach. He managed the club for 56 games and had a win percentage of 44.64% when he departed in December 2019.

At the time of his departure from the West Country club, he exited having just beaten Ipswich Town, which left the Gas as high as fourth in the League One standings. Coughlan departed the Memorial Stadium having held talks with the Rovers hierarchy and dropped down a division to manage Mansfield Town to be closer to his family.

His time at Field Mill was slightly shorter and he left having only won four matches in the 27-game tenure he had with the Stags.