Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton has played down links to the vacant Bristol City managerial job by saying that he has a job to finish at Sincil Bank.
Appleton has been at the Imps since September 2019, taking over from the highly-successful Cowley brothers who had just departed to Huddersfield Town at the time.
Both parties showed a big commitment in agreeing to a four-year deal, and the former Manchester United’s player’s plan seems to be coming together this season, with the club sitting top of League One with 27 games played.
And due to his good work in Lincolnshire, Appleton was sounded out as a potential name to take over at Ashton Gate by local journalist Gregor MacGregor, with the Robins having parted company with Dean Holden this week.
Appleton has a link to a key figure at Bristol City – their CEO Mark Ashton was in the same role at Oxford United when Appleton was appointed there – and that’s where the interest may stem from.
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He is taking no note of any speculation linking him to other clubs though, telling BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “The focus is on finishing the job off we’ve started this year.
“I just have a little wry smile about it and let people get excited.”
Appleton even hinted that the rumours have probably come from his links to working with Ashton before – and from his demeanour it doesn’t look like a man who is ready to leave his job.
It’s fair to say that Appleton didn’t have a fantastic start to his managerial career with both Portsmouth and Blackburn (with a brief spell at Blackpool wedged in-between), but he’s rebuilt his reputation over the last few years.
He’s still very early into management and the work he’s done with Lincoln is nothing short of fantastic, so it makes sense that he’s being linked with Championship jobs.
But he could get there with Lincoln next season, and having that on his CV would mean a lot more than jumping ship at this stage of the current campaign – Appleton should probably stick with the Imps for now.