Mowbray staying tight-lipped on job

HIBS boss Tony Mowbray was today back at his desk and playing down links with the managerial vacancy at Ipswich.But he was also locked in talks with the Edinburgh club's chairman, Rod Petrie, after Town were yesterday given permission to speak to their former captain and first team coach about replacing Joe Royle at Portman Road.

By Mel Henderson

HIBS boss Tony Mowbray was today back at his desk and playing down links with the managerial vacancy at Ipswich.

But he was also locked in talks with the Edinburgh club's chairman, Rod Petrie, after Town were yesterday given permission to speak to their former captain and first team coach about replacing Joe Royle at Portman Road.

Hibs are refusing to comment on what they call “speculation” and insist it is very much a case of business as usual at Easter Road.

Mowbray adopted a similar stance when he said today: “I don't have anything to say about speculation other than do not believe everything you read.”

But the 42-year-old's future remains a major talking point on both sides of the border and he is clearly angry at the way certain sections of the Scottish press are handling the story.

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When asked to comment about reports linking him with Ipswich, he said: “I don't know anything about that.

“I've enjoyed a few days away watching the European Cup Final and I've come back to these papers. I don't want to say too much about it.

“I want to deal with it properly rather than me shooting from the hip. What gives them the right to write these headlines? The information is not coming from this end.”

Mowbray is just one of a handful of candidates to replace Royle after Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks and chief executive Derek Bowden drew up a shortlist from the 40-plus applications they received.

Colchester have refused permission for Ipswich to approach their manager, Phil Parkinson, who has been linked with other vacancies, particularly the one at Charlton.

With Peter Taylor rejecting an offer from the London club and set to remain at Hull, the Championship side have no need to pursue Mowbray as a possible successor.

Preston's Billy Davies, highly regarded by the Ipswich board but clearly beyond their price range, is now talking to Charlton about succeeding Alan Curbishley at The Valley.

But Middlesbrough, the club where Mowbray made his name as a player before a £1million-plus move to Celtic, are still seeking a replacement for England-bound Steve McClaren.

Inevitably, given his past connections with Boro and the fact that many fans would welcome him back with open arms, he has been linked with that job.

Other clubs currently without a manager include Sunderland, Derby and QPR, and Mowbray could also be on the wanted list at the Stadium of Light.

For the time being, however, he remains the manager of Hibs, with chairman Petrie insisting that he and Mowbray are working on plans for next season, which starts with the InterToto Cup on July 1.

Mowbray added: “I will sit down with Rod Petrie and draft something but at this moment I don't want to talk too much.”

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