FORMER Wanderers defender Dean Holden is reportedly in the running for the vacant Blackpool job.

The 42-year-old is currently assistant manager to Michael O’Neill at Championship side Stoke City.

Whites boss Ian Evatt has also been linked with the role, having spent seven years at Bloomfield Road during his playing career.

Holden and Cheltenham boss Michael Duff are both under consideration, according to talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook.

The Seasiders are said to be keen to hire an “up-and-coming manager with a record of developing young players” following Neil Critchley’s shock move to Aston Villa to become Steven Gerrard’s assistant.

Holden began his career at Wanderers and was given his professional debut by Sam Allardyce in November 1999.

The defender went on to make 21 appearances for the Whites before heading to Oldham, initially on a loan deal before making the move permanent the following summer.

He also had spells with Peterborough, Shrewsbury and Walsall among others before hanging up his boots.

Holden returned to Oldham in November 2014 to take up the position of first team coach under Lee Johnson.

The former Bolton man also had a spell as caretaker manager during the final stages of the 2014/15 campaign and later headed to Bristol City to reunite with Johnson.

He was appointed head coach at Ashton Gate in the summer of 2020 following a spell as interim boss but was sacked the following year after a run of six successive defeats.

Holden joined Stoke just two months later to assist O’Neill, with the Potters finishing 14th in the Championship last term.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood boss Scott Brown is reportedly keen to sign former Wanderers youngster Luca Connell.

Connell is currently searching for a new club after he was released by Scottish champions Celtic at the end of his contract.

The Cod Army survived relegation last season under Stephen Crainey despite a suffering 4-2 defeat at the UniBol on the final day.

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