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Neil Warnock and Sol Bamba emerge as early favorites for Cardiff City job

Neil Warnock is the bookies’ favourite to return as the new manager of Cardiff City – with former star Sol Bamba also in the running.

Experienced out of work bosses Dean Smith and Chris Wilder are also in the frame at short odds according to Welsh bookmakers DragonBet, while current caretaker Dean Whitehead is another among the contenders.

Warnock, 74, has been out of work since leaving Middlesbrough in November 2021 and announced his retirement from management six months later.

But following the sacking of Mark Hudson at the weekend, the silver-tongued septuagenarian Warnock has been installed as the hot ticket for another ride on the Bluebirds merry-go-round.

The club have gone through eight managers in the last seven years – four in the past two years – but only Warnock managed a win percentage of over 40 per cent.

He also guided them to promotion to the Premier League in 2018, although they were only able to stay there for one season.

The fact that rumours have persisted for weeks that the club are keen to re-unite with a man who would become the oldest manager in the top four divisions perhaps shows how directionless and desperate the club has become.

Warnock is priced at 10/11 to return, while the other contenders for the job, according to the bookies, are current caretaker Whitehead (6/1), former Cardiff defender Bamba (12/1), Smith (14/1), who was recently sacked by Norwich City, former Sheffield United and Middlesbrough boss Wilder (18/1) and former Newport County giant-killer Mike Flynn (20/1).

Bamba, 38, joined Cardiff under Warnock in 2016 and became a legendary figure among the Cardiff fanbase after playing in every match in the Championship campaign that led to promotion in 2018.

He was also named in the PFA Championship team of the season.

Bamba played 28 games for the club in the Premier League, but injuries restricted his appearances after that before he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and began undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

He made a full recovery but left Cardiff to join Middlesbrough, under Warnock, where Bambaalso began undergoing his coaching badges with a view to moving into management.

Longer odds options are former Wales and Cardiff striker Craig Bellamy (16/1) and out-of-work experienced campaigners Chris Hughton (16/1) and Steve Bruce (16/1).

Cardiff have gone nine matches without a win. 

In 17 games in the Championship, former club captain Hudson secured 18 points out of a possible 51 with four wins and six draws. The Bluebirds remain the lowest scorers in the Championship, with 21 in 27 games.

Odds on Cardiff City’s next manager:

Neil Warnock

Dean Whitehead

Sol Bamba

Mark Warburton

Dean Smith

Liam Manning

Craig Bellamy

Chris Hughton

Steve Bruce

Sean Dyche

Steven Gerrard

Darrell Clarke

Chris Wilder

Joey Barton

Mike Flynn

Chris Coleman

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