Steve Bruce departs, but who next for Sheffield Wednesday?
Photo by Getty Images/Nathan Stirk

It's official. Steve Bruce has become the new manager of troubled Newcastle United, leaving Sheffield Wednesday without a man at the helm as the two week countdown to the start of the new season looms.

The former Sheffield United manager joined the Owls in January but didn't take charge until a month later where he would then record seven wins in his 18 matches in the hot seat, drawing eight.

Despite leaving a positive impression on the supporters, Bruce left the club on Monday so that his move to the Magpies could be completed, meaning the Championship side have a very important decision to make with regards to the man who could steer them in the right direction. These are the candidates...

Gianfranco Zola

Given he's the odds-on favourite, it'd be wrong not to include Gianfranco Zola. The Chelsea legend's record as a player of well over 200 goals in 800 appearances is an incredible feat, though his record as a manager is mixed.

Starting off his club career in the Premier League with West Ham United, Zola enjoyed a successful season where he guided the club to ninth - two points below European qualification.

However after nearly relegating the Hammers the following season, Zola was sacked and joined Watford where he masterminded the dramatic Championship playoff semi-final victory over Leicester City, before ultimately coming up unsuccessful at Wembley Stadium against Crystal Palace. The Italian resigned midway through the next season and returned to his home country.

He came back to England three years later and took over at Birmingham City after the controversial sacking of Gary Rowett, who had guided the club to 7th in the second tier. The Blues won just twice during his tenure as they slumped into a relegation battle and Zola promptly resigned again.

His tendency to give up when in a predicament is the last thing Wednesday would surely want, a club in desperate need of stability in the hot seat.

Chris Hughton

Chris Hughton was sacked as Brighton & Hove Albion manager at the end of the 18/19 season after the Seagulls struggled in the latter stages of their Premier League campaign. However, it was the good start and consolidation of position for two years in England's top flight that made this controversial among supporters.

It is worth noting that the former Irish international got Brighton to the so-called promised land in the first place, as they engaged in a scintillating battle for the Championship title with Newcastle in 2017. Ultimately they came up short, but their position in the automatic promotion places was never in doubt.

Hughton took the Magpies up from the Championship as well, winning the title in 2009-10. He was sacked the next season despite receiving considerable praise for his managerial style, with the supporters and players branding it a senseless decision, similarly to the more recent goings on at Brighton.

Hughton joined the south coast club in late 2014 and took a year-and-a-half to turn them into a Premier League side. He can undertake a project and implement his style in a short amount of time, key for Wednesday's needs at this stage, whilst earning the backing of supporters along the way, as was evident with Newcastle and Brighton. This would be a good appointment.

Giovanni van Bronckhurst

Needless to say Giovanni van Bronckhurst was an incredibly successful footballer. He won trophies such as the Premier League, FA Cup and La Liga, racked up nearly 600 club appearances and reached a World Cup final. However it remains to be seen how his managerial career will pan out.

That's not to say the former Dutch international hasn't been successful in the hot seat; he's won the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup and Johan Cruyff Shield - effectively the Dutch Super Cup - in his time with Feyenoord. This has, however, been his only job and the 44-year-old needs the chance to prove himself elsewhere.

For Wednesday, this could be an exciting appointment. It provides an element of the unknown and a fresh, new face in management at the helm, whereas all their appointments since probably Brian Laws or Alan Irvine had managed umpteen amount of clubs before taking up the post at Hillsborough. Neither of these worked out of course, thus there is still a risk to be had.

Garry Monk

Another young face that Wednesday could take a look at, Garry Monk has had experience at Championship level.

His time at Swansea City left a lasting impression as he took the club to eighth in the Premier League with an all-time record points tally. Eventually he was sacked and dropped a division to join Leeds United who he nearly took to a playoff spot in 2017. He resigned after the arrival of new owner Andrea Radrizzani and joined Middlesbrough where he lasted just half a season despite aiming to take the side back to the top flight.

Then, last year, the 40-year-old joined Birmingham and helped them to 9th place in the Championship, before a nine-point deduction sent the club in free fall to 17th. This was coupled with a poor run of form towards the end of the season and Monk promptly departed after the relationship between him and the Blues' chief executive broke down.

Monk has mostly brought his sides there or thereabouts. Ignoring the points deduction, he turned Birmingham into a top-ten side and agonisingly missed out on the top six with Leeds. As a manager who has had a decent amount of experience in the top half of the Championship, the Owls could do worse than to appoint him.

Danny Cowley

This is the wildcard shout. Starting off in the depths of non-league football, Danny Cowley took ninth-tier Concord Rangers up three divisions to the National League South, where they still play to this day.

His next spell was with Essex side Braintree Town whom, alongside his brother Nicky, the 40-year-old guided to the National League playoffs and agonisingly missed out on promotion with, losing 2-1 in the semi-finals to eventual winners Grimsby Town. This was a huge over-achievement for the Iron, who were relegated the next season when not under Cowley's leadership.

After just one season with Braintree the duo moved north to Lincoln City where, in three seasons, he's taken the Imps up two divisions to League One and into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup whilst still a non-league side - the first to do so in over 100 years.

A win percentage of over 50% with Lincoln is undeniably excellent and Cowley has surely got to be considered for the step up, though this may prove unlikely given his ongoing preparations for life in the third tier with his current side.

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