Fairleigh and Millward among tips for Saints jobs

Saints sacked head coach and club legend Keiron Cunningham yesterday (Monday) after a string of poor results - but who will chairman Eamonn McManus bring in as his replacement?
Saints sacked head coach and club legend Keiron Cunningham yesterday (Monday) after a string of poor results - but who will chairman Eamonn McManus bring in as his replacement?
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Saints’ decision to part company with head coach and former club legend Keiron Cunningham poses one intriguing question: Who will take over the hot seat at the Totally Wicked Stadium?

Several names have already been bandied about, including Australian prop forward David Fairleigh who spent the 2001 season at Knowsley Road and as well as earning a place in the RL Dream Team, helped Saints win the Challenge Cup against Bradford Bull.

The 46-year-old has several years coaching experience under his belt and is currently an assistant coach at Newcastle Knight.

Former Bradford and England boss Steve McNamara is another possible candidate, but he seems settled at the New Zealand Warriors and would need a great deal of persuasion to return home at this moment in time.

Even old boy Ian Millward has been linked with the post, as well as Paul Wellens, who is already on the staff at the Totally Wicked Stadium, but whoever Saints eventually take on board I believe he will need to be tried and tested at a high level of coaching and vastly experienced.

One charge, which has often been directed at Cunningham, is that he went from an all-time St Helens great straight into coaching at Super League level without learning all the ins-and-outs of the job at say a Championship club where the pressure on him to be a success would have been less intensive and he would have gained valuable experience at the same time.

“It’s a results industry and the job of a coach is always one the line,” Cunningham repeated on many occasions when he came under growing pressure from fans on social media.

It seems that outside influences may have played a small part in his dismissal - and I know he will be hurting like hell at this moment in time.

Neither will chairman Eamonn McManus have come to this decision lightly, sacking a man who had devoted most of his life to his home-town club.

He will be hurting just as much as anyone and only time will tell whether his decision turns out right or wrong.

In the meantime, assistant coaches Sean Long and Jamahl Lolesi will be joined by under 19s coach Derek Traynor to form an interim coaching team until a new head coach is appointed and in place.

Who it will be or when it will be announced is anybody’s guess but he will need to wave his magic wand - and quickly - if Saints are to successfully deal with their present crisis.

And the club’s plight isn’t made any easier by the fact they are away to defending champions Wigan Warriors on Good Friday and entertain table-toppers Castleford Tigers on Easter Monday.

In the current climate it is difficult to see them pick up maximum points but one can never be sure.