EXCLUSIVE: Former Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer has had no contact from Bradford City but is targeting a return to management

Gary Bowyer wants to return to the dug out
Gary Bowyer wants to return to the dug out

He has been linked with the vacant managerial role at Bradford City but Gary Bowyer says he has had no contact with the Bantams – though  the former Blackpool boss told The Gazette he has had a busy seven months since leaving Bloomfield Road.

Bowyer is the bookies’ second-favourite to take over at Valley Parade after David Hopkin resigned this week with the Bantams second-bottom of League One and three points from safety.

Current Bolton manager Phil Parkinson is favourite to return to the club he left in 2016, with Bowyer is 3/1 to take his first job since resigning from Blackpool in August.

In recent months Bowyer has taken a trip to Australia and says he has not stopped learning.

He completed his Master of Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University, earning a distinction.

And now he is waiting for the right opportunity to return to management.

Of Bradford he said: “I’ve heard that... but as we speak I have had no contact.”

Is he interested?

“The size of the club is there for all to see. I’m guessing there will be hundreds of people interested.”

But if the Yorkshire club do not come calling, what is next for Bowyer? The 47-year-old is hoping to put that new qualification to use later in his career and is keen to return to the dug-out.

He said: “I’m like the majority of managers who are out of work. I’m trying to stay current and get round to watch games.

“You are waiting for an opportunity to arise at a club. Hopefully the people at that club then acknowledge what you have done in your previous jobs and feel you are fit to be the manager of their football club.”

Off the pitch, Bowyer is celebrating the news that he is set to become a grandfather for the first time.

His only child, Georgia, 24, and Stockport County player Jordan Keane have just announced they are expecting.

Bowyer’s time out of the game has been a welcome opportunity to spend more time with his wife Claire and travel.

With Mrs Bowyer’s work commitments, he joked that he now understands how his wife felt when he could not find time for holidays during the season.

Since returning from a New Year trip to Australia, the former Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United and Hereford United player has been visiting clubs across the north-west as he continues his quest for knowledge.

He said: “I had some time away with the family, which was good.

“A bit of travelling in Europe and visiting places at weekends, when my wife had got time off work.

“The shoe was on the other foot a little bit because I was forever wanting to go away but she could not because of work.

“I had a dissertation to do for my degree, which involved interviewing several sporting directors. Once I had collected all the data, it was a case of writing up my findings – 15,000 words took up a good chunk of time.

“When you are out of work you find yourself able to do things you could not necessarily have done when you are in work. I have friends in Melbourne and went over there for Christmas and New Year.

“New Year’s Eve under Sydney Harbour Bridge watching 2019 come in was quite an experience. It was good to refresh, recharge and have different life experiences.

“I have since been out to Spain watching some coaching and watching some games.

“I’ve been around the north-west. People have been very good with me.

“I went to watch Alex Neil train at Preston. He was very good and Paul Cook at Wigan was terrific with me.

“Keith Hill at Rochdale was very accommodating and open. All of them have been to be fair.

“I also had the privilege to go watch Rafa Beneitez at Newcastle.

“I have been to Wolves, Barnsley, Stoke, Tottenham, also watching different age groups and educating myself to do things you do not necessarily get an opportunity to do when you are a manager 24/7.”