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  • Writer's pictureChristian Marchetti

Five names that could replace Mark Rudan at Western United

Following the sacking of Mark Rudan, Western United are on the hunt for a new manager for next season after a woeful 2020-21 campaign.

Check out our potential candidates for the role below. We break down why they would be suitable options for the Victorian side.

Kevin Muscat - The Favoured One

Let's get the most obvious candidate out of the way first.

Kevin Muscat has been heavily linked with the vacant role ever since Rudan's departure was announced and is the outright favourite in the eyes of many.

Muscat's experience, track record, and the fact he is unattached to a club right now are why he is considered the obvious choice. Western is probably prioritising him as their first choice as well.

Understandably, Western would be interested, particularly as they need a winning coach to crack into the finals again. That's why the onus is on Muscat as to whether he sees himself fit for the role.

After a dismal spell in Europe coaching Belgian side Sint-Truiden, would the ex-Victory coach consider returning to the continental stage?

Or would the opportunity to work with Besart Berisha again, as well as Alessandro Diamanti, be too good to turn down?

Muscat and Berisha enjoyed a fruitful spell together at the Victory and could be reunited at Western.

John Aloisi - The Forgotten One

Now a pundit on Optus Sport, ex-Brisbane boss John Aloisi is not as involved in the Australian football scene as he used to be.

It's easy to forget that Aloisi guided the Roar to finals football in each of the three full seasons he coached at the club.

Aloisi led Brisbane to two Semi-Finals and an Elimination-Final during his time at the club. (AAP)

Things went sour at the beginning of his fourth season, with the Roar near the bottom. However, nothing lasts forever as the ex-Socceroo was sacked in December 2018.

Despite his track record of guiding teams to consistent finals appearances, Aloisi is not viewed in as high regard as you would think by many A-League fans.

That might be down to his inability to take his teams one step further into a Grand Final or winning the Championship.

However, this Western side needs to be playing finals football first before they start thinking about a maiden title. Aloisi has the evidence to justify his appointment to the role.

John Anastasiadis - The One From Within

The safest option from a financial point of view is the current assistant coach Anastasiadis. He worked alongside Rudan in his two seasons in the role.

The issue with promoting an assistant who has just worked under the previous coach is whether he will make fundamental changes.

Anastasiadis and Rudan seemed to have a close relationship on the sidelines, so there is no guarantee he would change too much.

He also has no previous experience as a head coach of an A-League club, even if his track record with the Bentleigh Greens in Victoria's NPL was impressive.

Anastasiadis was at the helm at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex for eight years, guiding the club to six trophies and taking them to the FFA Cup Semi-Finals in 2015.

Western's Director of Football, Steve Horvat, has spoken about the club attempting to bridge the gap between the NPL and A-League in Victoria.

From that point of view, Anastasiadis' appointment would make sense, given his knowledge of the local leagues.

Marco Kurz - The Returning One

If Western want a coach that can motivate and revitalise a team, and keep fans on the edge of their seat every week, then look no further than the German.

Kurz is best known for his stint with Adelaide United. He became an instant fan favourite at the club and guided an average squad on paper to two consecutive finals appearances.

Kurz during his time in Adelaide with the Reds.

In his second season, he almost took them into the Grand Final against all odds, only missing out on penalties to that season's Premiers Perth Glory in the Semi-Final.

The Reds strangely decided not to renew the German's contract. The Victory pounced to appoint him as their new boss ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Kurz's tumultuous stint in charge in Melbourne is what will turn some of the Western faithful away from his appointment.

However, given the issues Victory have faced since his departure, he arguably took over a sinking ship anyway.

Western is arguably a sinking ship, too, right now. But if they entrust Kurz to go out and recruit the players he wants and implement his high-octane style of play from the off, then it could bear fruit.

Ruben Zadkovich - The Left-Field One

We were always going to chuck in a left-field, NPL-experienced coach into the mix here. Still, current Perth Glory second assistant Zadkovich isn't as far-fetched a choice as you would think.

In his first coaching role with Northern NSW NPL side Broadmeadow Magic, Zadkovich guided them to the title back in 2018 and then followed it up with back-to-back top-four finishes too.

The Glory must have monitored his progress because he was then appointed as a second assistant to incoming coach Richard Garcia ahead of this season and took over Garcia's previous role overseeing the Glory academy.

That position in the academy would have given him more experience in working with developing young players. As a relatively new club, you'd imagine Western would want to continue to grow that aspect of their set-up.

Appointing a young, ambitious manager like Zadkovich, who is more likely to relate to younger players and has experience in youth development, could facilitate that growth.

However, youth development isn't everything, and results will be paramount.

The ex-Newcastle Jet has no prior A-League coaching experience. It would be a considerable risk, as he has only proven his worth at an NPL level thus far.


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