League Two: Manager of relegated club quits for League One post

Darrell Clarke <i>(Image: Richard Parkes)</i>
Darrell Clarke (Image: Richard Parkes)

Carlisle United's fellow relegated club Cheltenham Town have been rocked by the departure of their manager.

Darrell Clarke has quit the Robins to take charge at League One club Barnsley.

He has left the Completely-Suzuki Stadium after just under a season at the helm.

Clarke came close to keeping Cheltenham in the third tier but, after their drop back to League Two, he has gone to Oakwell.

Cheltenham said they had made Clarke "a great offer" to stay but the ex-Port Vale and Walsall chief wanted to return to League One.

Robins chairman David Bloxham, in a club interview, said it was clear "throughout" recent meetings that Clarke wanted the challenge of League One.

"He's done a great job for us, but I don't think he wants to be a League Two manager," said Bloxham.

"He was our highest-paid League One manager and he would have been our highest paid in League Two.

"He had offers from other League Two clubs, which he didn't want to take, but it's League One that he wanted."

Bloxham said the club would appoint a new boss as quickly as they can.

Former Fleetwood Town boss Lee Johnson is the early bookies' favourite at 5/4. His father Gary, a former Robins boss, is set to be appointed director of football at Cheltenham, according to GloucestershireLive.

Gareth Ainsworth, Martin Devaney, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Dean Holden are 10/1.

The Barrow boss Pete Wild, who is at the centre of speculation about his own future, is 14/1 while former Carlisle coach Nathan Rooney is 16/1 despite recently signing a new deal with Gibraltar outfit FCB Magpies.

Clarke, who took charge at Cheltenham in September in place of Wade Elliott, has replaced Neill Collins at the Barnsley helm.

The Yorkshire club's sporting director Mladen Sormaz said: "Darrell's style of play is attacking and aggressive and he has shown that he can quickly get strong performances and results at his previous clubs.

"Darrell has a strong track record in the EFL and is an ambitious head coach who has consistently been able to get teams promoted and has spent a significant period of time at each club.

"We believe he’s the right man to help us achieve our aim of promotion to the Championship." The Tykes finished sixth last season and lost to Bolton Wanderers in the play-off semi-finals, while Clarke's Cheltenham went down in fourth-bottom position.