Profile: new Bristol Rovers boss John Ward
Former Colchester United boss John Ward looks set to become the new manager of Bristol Rovers.
Ward, who is understood to have turned down the director of football position at Plymouth Argyle, is expected to be named as manager later today.
The Pirates have called a press conference after sacking Mark McGhee at the weekend.
The move would see Ward reunited with his old club – he managed Rovers from 1993 to 1996. Ward’s managerial career has also taken him to clubs including York City and Carlisle United.
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Prior to this, Lincoln-born Ward enjoyed a 12-year playing career. He started out playing for his hometown club, appearing for City's reserve and 'A' sides and with top Lincoln Sunday side Adelaide Park.
He signed professional terms at Sincil Bank in March 1971, and remained with the club until 1979.
In total he secured 90 League goals for the Imps in 241 appearances, with his overall League and cup tally being 99 goals from 263 games, putting him fifth in the all-time Club goalscoring chart.
Ward enjoyed a loan spell at Workington before penning a deal with Watford. In 1981 he headed to Grimsby Town, where he remained for one season.
The following year Ward hung up his football boots, and was assistant manager to Graham Taylor at Watford. He then followed Taylor to Aston Villa in 1987.
Ward remained at Villa for a further year-and-a-half after Taylor became England manager in 1990, first under Jozef Venglos and then Ron Atkinson.
Ward then took the helm at York City, managing the club from 1991 to 1993. His next move was to Bristol Rovers, where he remained for three years.
According to the Bristol Rovers website: “John Ward began a three-year tenure in the hot seat in March 1993, too late to save the club from another relegation.
“He gradually built a promotion challenging side and led Rovers to Wembley in the play-off Final against Huddersfield in 1994/95, where the Yorkshire side ran out 2-1 winners. One year later, Rovers finished in 10th position and Ward's contract was not renewed.”
Ward then moved to Bristol City, where he won promotion to the First Division. In 1998 he became assistant manager to Colin Lee at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Ward had a brief spell as caretaker manager after Lee's departure, before reverting to assistant under Dave Jones. He helped the club win promotion to the Premier League in 2003, but left the club at the end of the season.
Ward was appointed as Cheltenham Town chief in 2003, and he remained with the club until 2007. During this time he led them to promotion into League One.
In October 2007 Ward penned a four-year deal with Carlisle United. But after just 13 months in charge he and the club parted ways by mutual consent, following a run of nine defeats in their last 10 League One games.
Ward’s next career move would see him become manager of Colchester United. He took charge after being assistant manager under Aidy Boothroyd.
In September this year, with the U's 22nd in the table and yet to win in nine league and cup games of the season, 61-year-old Ward was sacked.
Club chairman Robbie Cowling said while the club had changed for the better in many areas under Ward, the board had decided to act "to stop the negativity of the on-field results impacting on the other areas of the club that have also been drastically improved".