Motherwell announce new manager

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Published: Saturday 13th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Motherwell have confirmed former Scunthorpe and Sligo manager Ian Baraclough as their new manager.

Baraclough – who led Sligo to their first Irish title in 35 years – edged out former Fir Park defender Mitchell van der Gaag in the recruitment process.

Although van der Gaag was installed as the bookmakers’ clear favourite on Thursday evening, Press Association Sport understands Baraclough had already been chosen as Stuart McCall’s successor following discussions earlier in the day.

The 44-year-old will be at Fir Park today to watch his new team play Scottish Premiership bottom club Ross County, with Kenny Black remaining in caretaker charge.

Baraclough, a former Leicester, QPR and Scunthorpe defender, arrived in Motherwell on Friday night as the club announced they had agreed a deal in principle that would see Well Society backer Les Hutchison assume control in lieu of a planned fans’ takeover.

The announcement of that deal allowed the club to appoint Baraclough, who has been working as a scout for Huddersfield after parting company with Sligo in June.

The club want Black to stay on as assistant, a role he performed for almost four years under McCall, but no announcement has been made on the caretaker’s future.

Baraclough told the club’s official website: “I am delighted and find myself in a privileged position. I’ve done some research into the history of the club and I know how well the football club has done, certainly over recent years.

“It will be a hard task to take over from Stuart but one I’m very excited to take up.

“I’m a positive guy and I’m upbeat most of the time. The players will find that and I’ll try and get that across to them. I want this club to feel energised and start climbing the table as soon as possible.”

Baraclough’s exit from Sligo came as a surprise after he led them to their most successful period, which saw them win the FAI Cup and cross-border Setanta Sports Cup as well as the title in his first season in 2012.

Baraclough had previously had a six-month spell in charge at Scunthorpe, losing his job in the midst of a relegation battle in the Championship. He had twice helped the club win promotion to the second tier of English football as assistant to Nigel Adkins.

It is understood Baraclough, who has also worked as a scout for Watford, impressed Motherwell with his focus on fitness and discipline and emphasis on playing a passing game, as well as his contacts in the English game and his track record of helping develop young players.

Former Maritimo manager van der Gaag also hugely impressed the board with his analysis of Motherwell’s recent displays and his vision for the club, but with the club facing a battle to get out of relegation danger, Baraclough was seen as the right man for the moment.

Motherwell began the weekend two points off the bottom of the Premiership but Baraclough has set himself ambitious long-term targets.

“Short term my aim is to keep this club in the Premiership,” he said. “There is no easy way to go about that and it is a situation that hasn’t been at this football club in a few years but it doesn’t scare me.

“I feel as though there is more than enough to push us up the table in the short term then try and build for long term by producing players. I am big on development, so the young players will certainly have a pathway to the first team if they are good enough.

“I want to win trophies. Why not Motherwell Football Club? Why can’t we win the Premiership? You’ve got to go out with that thinking otherwise you won’t achieve anything. To have days out in the cup are great for fans, but they are important. It’s a way into Europe and I’ve been used to that and want more of it, as I’m sure the fans do too.”

Motherwell also interviewed Black, Robert Maaskant, Kenny Shiels and Terry Butcher, although the latter pulled out of the race.

Published: Saturday 13th December 2014 by The News Editor

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