Johnson popular with punters after Cherries part with Groves
Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has emerged as an early favourite with bookmakers for the managerial vacancy at npower League One rivals AFC Bournemouth, after odds were slashed on him making a move to Dorset.
The Cherries parted company with boss Paul Groves and assistant manager Shaun Brooks yesterday, following just one win from their first ten League One games.
Not long after Bournemouth announced the departure of the former Grimsby Town manager and his number two, Johnson was priced as a 33-1 outsider by Victor Chandler's online service, BetVictor.
However, punters had less than ten minutes to take advantage of that price as he first tumbled to 4-1 and then 5-2 – shorter odds than former Tottenham Hotspur chief Harry Redknapp, who took up an advisory role at the Goldsands Stadium last month.
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Burnley manager Eddie Howe was priced 6-4 with BetVictor and 8-11 with Stan James for a return to his old haunt, with Stan James offering odds of 4-1 on Johnson to leave Huish Park to cross the county border – but it was proving to be an extremely volatile market.
Later in the afternoon, Howe had drifted to 7-2 and Johnson to 3-1, with evens being available for former Portsmouth and Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cotterill.
BetVictor were asked to open a market last week after customers requested odds on Glenn Hoddle and Redknapp to become the next Bournemouth boss, but significant gambles on Johnson and Howe have seen prices plummet.
Regardless of the state of the betting, it is understood that the Bournemouth hierarchy are big fans of Johnson, who guided Yeovil to the top of League One in August.
Last month's 1-0 success for Groves' team in Somerset marked the start of a six-game losing streak for the Glovers which continued on Tuesday against Portsmouth.
First-team coach Dennis Rofe is expected to take charge of the Cherries on Saturday, when they face an away game against Coventry City, while the notion of Redknapp taking charge of the Dorset side has been dismissed.
Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell told BBC South: "There is no truth that I have offered Harry the job. His future is a lot higher, we are a League One club."
While Bournemouth are only one rung above the League One drop zone, and are level on points with fourth-from-bottom Scunthorpe United, Yeovil are not much better off.
Tuesday's setback left the Glovers in 16th place, two points above the Cherries. Johnson rang the changes for the visit of Pompey, recalling four players and switching formation to a 3-5-2 shape.
However, with the Huish Park hosts trailing and also struggling to handle the pace of visiting attackers Izale McLeod and Wes Thomas, he made two half-time substitutions and reverted to a 4-4-2 system.
Johnson vowed to battle on in a quest to return to winning ways – but suggested improvements may not arrive overnight in a small squad that is being hampered by poor form, suspension and injury.
"We will be doing everything we can to get that next win," he said. "We had one or two out there that didn't get involved and needed to.
"We know who they are and at these points we can see the ones that we need to bring out of the side. We have got three or four we can build on, but now it is going to be quite a job and we are going to have to be patient," Johnson added.