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06 December 2019 22:34

Millwall F.C. Jason McCarthy Wycombe Wanderers F.C.

Watford set to appoint former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson as new manager

Watford are set to appoint Nigel Pearson as their new head coach on a deal until the end of the season. The former Leicester City boss has been the short-priced favourite all day to become Watford's new head coach after being interviewed for the vacancy. The Times reported overnight the 56-year-old was "under consideration" to replace Sanchez Flores and claims he met Hornets officials yesterday. Pearson knows what it takes to escape deep trouble in the Premier League, having guided Leicester City to safety in 2015 after they were firmly at the basement at Christmas. The former Southampton, Hull City and Derby County manager's most recent post was with Leuven in Belgium, where he was sacked in February.

Interim boss Hayden Mullins will take charge of the Hornets for a second time tomorrow against Crystal Palace by which time the appointment of the new permanent boss may have been confirmed. The appointment of Nottingham-born Pearson would mark a significant shift for the Hornets hierarcy, who have also held talks with Chris Hughton and Paul Clement among others about the position, given their usual policy of employing foreign head coach. Nigel Pearson has not managed in the Premier League since 2015. Nigel Pearson has been named the new Watford coach, the club announced on Friday, with the hiring comes a week after Quique Sanchez Flores was sacked. Watford said in a statement on their website that Pearson was given an initial contract until the end of the season and that he will officially take over following the club's weekend match against Crystal Palace.

Sanchez Flores' second spell at Watford, who are last in the Premier League table, lasted just 10 games, ending with a 2-1 Premier League defeat to Southampton on Dec. 1. Pearson was most recently in charge of Belgian side Oud-Heverlee Leuven where he was sacked after six months in charge. He led Leicester City into the Premier League in 2015 and a run of seven wins in their last nine games helped them stay in the division. Pearson was sacked at the end of that season and replaced by Claudio Ranieri who led Leicester to the league title. He becomes the third manager of Watford this season--following Sanchez Flores' tenure and that of Javi Gracia, who was fired in September--and the club's 10th since 2013.

"Nigel is an impressive coach and comes with all of the experience and success we believe can have a very positive impact on our season," Watford Chairman & CEO Scott Duxbury said on the club's official website. "It's been a pleasure spending time listening to the passion with which he talks about the game. His enthusiasm, organisation and motivation will I'm certain prove essential in driving the team forwards and upwards over the coming weeks and months." The struggling Hornets need a coach to save their Premier League lives with experienced duo Nigel Pearson and Mark Hughes in their sights. Watford have interviewed Nigel Pearson as they ramp up the search for their third manager of the season, according to the Sun (6 December, page 69), but Mark Hughes may be out of their reach. Almost halfway through the 2019/20 season, the Hornets have more managers than wins to their name so far.

Javi Gracia was sacked just weeks into the campaign, despite leading Watford to the FA Cup final in May, and Quique Sanchez Flores's second spell in Hertfordshire was over after a grand total of ten Premier League games. The Sun reports that they have held talks with Pearson but Hughes, who hasn't worked since being sacked by Southampton a year ago, has no interest in being parachuted straight into a relegation battle. 56-year-old Pearson is best known for winning the Championship title with Leicester in 2014 before pulling off a Houdini-style act of escapology during The Foxes' first season back in the big time. But the acid-tongued, ostrich-enthusiast hasn't coached in England since that ill-fated spell at Derby County three years ago and was sacked by Belgian second tier outfit OH Leuven in February. Watford have appointed former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson as their new head coach, initially on a short-term contract until the end of the season.

The 56-year-old will not assume his role until next week, meaning interim boss Hayden Mullins will be in the dugout for Saturday's game against Crystal Palace. Pearson becomes the Hornets' third permanent manager of the season, replacing Quique Sanchez Flores, who was sacked last week, with the club bottom of the Premier League, having won just one of their 15 games this season. Sanchez Flores had himself only begun his second spell in charge in September, when he took over from Javi Gracia, the Spaniard shown the door after the club continued their poor form from the end of last season into the beginning of this. Pearson has been out of a job since February, when he was sacked by Belgian second tier side Oud-Heverlee Leuven. He was last seen in England during a brief spell at Derby County in 2016, but prior to that had taken Leicester into the Premier League and helped the club to top flight survival, building the foundations of the team that would go on to win the title under Claudio Ranieiri the following season. "Nigel is an impressive coach and comes with all of the experience and success we believe can have a very positive impact on our season," club chairman Scott Duxbury said. "It's been a pleasure spending time listening to the passion with which he talks about the game. His enthusiasm, organisation and motivation will I'm certain prove essential in driving the team forwards and upwards over the coming weeks and months."