Football: Parkes says Walker wants the best

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The Independent Online
TONY PARKES yesterday ruled himself out of the running for the vacant post of Blackburn Rovers manager - and insisted that the club's owner, Jack Walker, would not accept anything but the best when it comes to appointing Roy Hodgson's successor.

Parkes, 28 years at Ewood Park, agreed to take temporary charge for the fourth time, after revealing that Hodgson was sacked following the team's 2-0 defeat at home to Southampton on Saturday. The club had earlier said that the former Switzerland and Internazionale coach had left by mutual consent with Rovers at the bottom of the Premiership. However, Parkes admitted he had been taken by surprise by the speed of Hodgson's departure and warned his successor: "Jack Walker won't accept anything but the best for Blackburn Rovers.

"He is clearly very concerned over the position the club finds itself in. It's not a good situation, but we've got to look forward."

With Hodgson paying with his job for the team's slump this season, Walker could look to a replacement with experience of Premiership management - such as Ron Atkinson, David Pleat or Howard Wilkinson - to pull Rovers out of the mire. However, the Scotland captain Colin Hendry, who joined Rangers from Blackburn this summer, has been linked with a return to the club he served with distinction during two lengthy spells.

Hendry said: "I've never hidden my ambition to become involved in coaching and management but really I was expecting something later in my career. There's no time like the present, though I don't know what Blackburn are thinking at this stage."

Blackburn's chief executive, John Williams, has indicated that the club are anxious to make a speedy appointment.

He said: "The search for a new manager is a priority, and we don't intend to drag our feet. Our fans and our players will be expecting decisive action. We are very fortunate to have someone of Tony's ability to take the reins, albeit in the short term. This is a major appointment and must rate as one of the best jobs in the Premier League."

Parkes, confirming that the decision to change managers was entirely down to the club, said Hodgson wanted it to be known that he was sacked. "It's been a sad couple of days, for Roy was a top coach and well liked here," Parkes said. "He wanted more time, but Jack Walker was obviously not prepared to give more time. I am not a better manager or coach than Roy Hodgson and in that respect, I have no right to expect to do any better.

"But for some reason, it sometimes makes a difference when there is a change, and with a little bit of luck, a few changes here and there and a different think tank, we will do our best to bring about a revival. Our season starts today, and I will be telling that to the players at the first training session.

"I have no intention of applying for the job and I think it's right that the fans and the players know that from the start. The club needs a higher-profile manager than me and a bigger name.

"I will look at the situation positively - that's always how I have tried to do it - and will be endeavouring to get us back to something like the championship-winning side we appeared to be just 12 months ago."

The Rangers vice-chairman, Donald Findlay, insisted that Hendry was happy at Ibrox, but explained if any approach were made, they would consider the proposition carefully.

Findlay said: "I have no reason to suppose Colin Hendry is anything other than committed to us, but I could understand a sentimental attachment to at some point return to Blackburn.

"The way we do business at Rangers is that we would speak to them. I would not really welcome the timing, though, because we have both the Parma game [tonight] and a League Cup final against St Johnstone on Sunday."

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