Ex-Aston Villa boss famed for ‘magnificent achievement’ frontrunner for Sheffield Wednesday role

Dean Smith is one of the frontrunners to replace Darren Moore at Sheffield Wednesday after the manager’s shock departure from the club.

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Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is in the running to be named the manager of the newly-promoted Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls booked their spot in the second tier after a dramatic League One play-off run that saw former boss Darren Moore oversee a historic comeback against Peterborough United in the semi-final as they overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit. They then beat Barnsley 1-0 in the final with a 123rd-minute winner from Josh Windass.

Despite his heroics, Moore left the Yorkshire club just weeks after promotion in a shock decision that the club attributed to 'mutual consent'.

Chairman Dejphon Chansiri told the club website: "Both parties believe that now is the right time we go our separate ways.

"The journey of Sheffield Wednesday with Darren has been in many ways unique and always as a team. In the football industry, journeys come to an end and now is that time, which we both agree.

"The mutual respect we have for each other is immense on a personal and professional basis and I offer my sincere thanks for the dedication and commitment Darren has given to our club. Darren will always be welcome at Hillsborough."

Dean Smith left Leicester City this summer (Image: Getty Images)Dean Smith left Leicester City this summer (Image: Getty Images)
Dean Smith left Leicester City this summer (Image: Getty Images)

The decision has left Sheffield Wednesday needing to appoint a new manager ahead of next year's Championship campaign and, a week on from Moore's departure, the post is still vacant.

Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is one of the frontrunners to take the role at Hillsborough having been left without a job after failing to keep strugglers Leicester City in the Premier League last season.

Smith spent three years at Villa Park between 2018 and 2021, taking the club from 15th place in the Championship to the Premier League in his first season. A famous relegation scalp followed in 2020 as the club managed to maintain its Premier League status despite drifting four points from safety with four fixtures to play. Smith labelled survival a 'magnificent achievement'.

The boss then led the side to an 11th-placed Premier League finish before a run of five straight defeats early in the next season saw him dismissed.

Smith is 6/1 to land the vacant Sheffield Wednesday role with Paul Ince (6/4) and Giuseppe Iachini (9/4) as the two frontrunners. Ince was most recently with Reading who were relegated from the Championship last season amid financial punishment woes and Iachini recently worked a short spell at Italia club Parma.

Former Wolves boss Bruno Lage is also an option at 9/1 after leaving Wolverhampton Wanderers last season.