May 3, 2022 7.30 pm

Who is Steven Bradley? The young Irish coach in line to be next Lincoln manager

Finding out a bit more about the reported favourite for the Imps manager job

Lincoln City’s wait for a new manager may not be as long as first thought, with various reports linking the club to Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley.

The Imps have been on the lookout for a new manager since Michael Appleton announced his departure after the conclusion of the League One season, and a host of names were initially linked to the club.

The likes of England under-19s manager Ian Foster and former Sunderland boss Lee Johnson were considered early favourites, but a young coach making waves in Ireland now seems to be leading the race.

Stephen Bradley, 37, is being reported as Lincoln City’s top target, with some outlets in Ireland – including RTE – suggesting that an official approach has been made by the Imps in a bid to accelerate talks.

With this in mind, and with many people perhaps not knowing his background or abilities as a manager before the rumour mill began, let’s take a look at the career of Stephen Bradley as well as what he may bring to Lincoln City.


Stephen Bradley’s career and credentials

Bradley was a Republic of Ireland under-21 international in his playing career, making over 100 appearances in his country of birth for the likes of Limerick, St Patrick’s Athletic, Drogheda United and Shamrock Rovers.

The latter of these teams is where he got his managerial break, becoming head coach at Shamrock Rovers in November 2016. He guided the side to their first silverware in eight years with an FAI Cup win in 2019, and has gone from strength to strength since.

Shamrock Rovers won their 18th league title in 2020 under Bradley’s management, wrapping the season up with four games to spare. They then retained the title in 2021, winning the league by sixteen points.

He has a 57% win percentage at Shamrock, and is a two time winner of the PFAI Manager of the Year award. His football is described as open and attacking, utilising a back three system that relies on creativity and energy.

His time winning trophies in Ireland has also allowed for a few European nights to remember for Stephen Bradley, too. In the last couple of years his side have competed well against Slovan Bratislava and seven time European Champions AC Milan.

Stephen Bradley has been on the radar of a number of English clubs for some time now. He was one of the frontrunners to replace Russell Martin at MK Dons earlier in the season, and no secret has been made of his ambition as a manager.

While we will never know until seeing him take charge of games for Lincoln, his philosophy, track record and youthful exuberance definitely fit the profile for what the board will be looking for in Michael Appleton’s replacement as manager.