MILLWALL columnist MATT LITTLE takes a look at some of the runners and riders in the race to replace Kenny Jackett at The Den.

THE departure of Kenny Jackett means us Lions fans are in the faintly unfamiliar position of contemplating a new manager down at The Den for the first time in five and a half years.

When I run the rule over potential candidates it evokes the same feelings you get when you go on your first date after an amicable break up with someone you'd been with for years, but who you'd simply become good friends with.

It certainly means this new manager has a lot to live up to.

So what are we looking for in the man charged with the honour of managing one of football's most challenging and charismatic clubs?

Well, I think it goes without saying they are going to have to be thick skinned and mentally strong.

The Den is not a forgiving place for the faint of heart, even professional Yorkshire tough man Mick McCarthy was unsettled by the Millwall faithful at times.

This is why I'd rule out someone like Eddie Howe straight away, not that I'm even sure he’d swap Boscombe beach for Bermondsey concrete anyway.

But even if he was open to leaving Bournemouth, I just don't think anything in his background has prepared him for life at The Den.

Some of the tea ladies would eat him for breakfast, let alone Halfway Harry et al.

We also need someone with a clear ethos and philosophy, and better still one that has been proven successful.

An expensive haircut and snappy power-point presentation isn't good enough, Millwall fans will see straight through that in one press conference.

Just ask Nigel Spackman.

I'd argue this should rule out the likes of Karl Robinson, as he’d be well out of his depth at a proper football club in my opinion.

Vanity is also a no no at Millwall.

Could you imagine Phil Brown’s ego surviving the wrath of the Kitchener Stand wits behind the dug-out for long?

Me neither.

This would be my only reservation about Owen Coyle, as I think he’d take typical south London directness quite personally.

Although he does have the advantage of being Scottish.

I bring this up because Scots have thrived at The Den in the past, George Graham even mused the neighbourhoods around The Den were the only part of London which reminded him of the grittiness of his native Glasgow.

Personally I think Millwall isn’t really a job for northerners, and that we’ve always done better with Londoners or Scots in charge.

There’s something about Millwall and its old fashioned docker’s culture which outsiders just cannot access.

Palace and Charlton fans struggle, so what chance someone from a provincial northern town?

The only northerner that might break the mould would be Neil Warnock.

I think working at a club whose motto is ‘no-one likes us, we don't care’ would be right up his street.

He has certainly spoken highly about the passion of the fans every time he's been to The Den.

Warnock would be one of my top choices, if only as a short-term fix working alongside a promising coach.

If Mr Berylson really is willing to put more money up then I can’t think of anyone more proven out of the realistic candidates than Warnock to get the most bang out of our American chairman’s buck.

Life would certainly be interesting and I don’t think we’d see the kind of weak home performances which overshadowed the final stages of Kenny Jackett’s reign.

However, I am sure Warnock would divide opinion amongst the Millwall faithful and who knows whether or not he’d prefer retirement to quite an intense job.

So what other potential candidates fit the bill?

Sean Dyche is an ex-Lion, has some Championship experience under his belt and is a strong enough character not to be fazed by the crowd, but he would cost compensation.

Gary Johnson is a Londoner with thick enough skin for The Den and who has done an amazing job to lead Yeovil Town to within one game of Championship football.

He is also proven at Championship level with stints at both Bristol City and Peterborough United on modest budgets.

Is he sexy enough though?

Uwe Rosler might fit the sexy tag and has already shown he likes a Millwall type player by signing a lot of them from our promotion winning side for Brentford.

He has played at the very highest level and so can't be a shrinking violet, maybe a good leftfield shout?

Then there's the route which we have had success with in the past, getting in a promising coach and turning them into a successful manager, but no-one really jumps out.

Tim Sherwood is too used to the comforts of Spurs for me and is nowhere near tough enough for us.

Yet the club could surprise us with someone out of the blue, as they did with Kenny Jackett.

I’d warn against giving it to Joe Gallen, if he’s even interested, as he is far too close to some of the under-performing players.

And an ex or current player with no experience would be too much of a gamble for me.

Marc Bircham is of course included in that, even though some bookies make him a favourite.

I could maybe swallow Warnock with Bircham alongside learning the ropes, but not as out and out manager.

Therefore my personal short-list would be Neil Warnock, Gary Johnson, Sean Dyche, Uwe Rosler and Owen Coyle.

However, I am sure you'll all have your own opinion or other suggestions, so please feel free to let myself and the club know by having a vote or leaving a comment.

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