Where Kieran McKenna now ranks in the EFL Championship’s longest serving managers list – Premier League clubs on high alert

Despite being on the wanted list for some time, Kieran McKenna is still doing well as Ipswich Town’s manager.

The 37-year-old has reportedly drawn interest from several Premier League teams, including Crystal Palace, Brentford, and West Ham. The Tractor Boys’ manager is reportedly being watched by these teams.

After moving to Portman Road in December 2021, the former Manchester United assistant has transformed a team that had slipped into the third-tier abyss in the 26 months since his arrival.

McKenna has turned Ipswich Town into a match-winning machine

McKenna’s first 14 league games in charge had only resulted in one loss, thus there were early indications that his time in Suffolk would be successful. Following an 11th-place result in 2021–2022, his team decimated League One in his first full season in command, scoring 101 goals en route to automatic promotion to the Championship, where they came in second to Plymouth Argyle.

With 48 points from their first 20 games, the newly promoted team has one of the finest starts to a Championship season in history, and only the dominant Leicester City is able to surpass them. This momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Unmistakably, McKenna has had an impact on the team; the attacking football that is being played at Portman Road is a long cry from the mid-table mediocrity that existed prior to his arrival.

Town has been tenacious in their return to the second division, bolstered by a strong defence and the tenacity of Leif Davis and Harry Clarke at full back.

Where Kieran McKenna ranks among the Championship’s longest serving managers

In the second level of English football, McKenna is the only manager to have held the position longer than two other people: Ryan Lowe of Preston North End and Mark Robins of Coventry City, the latter by a very close margin.

In just over two weeks, Robins will mark his seventh year leading the Sky Blues. He assumed leadership of the team midway through their 2016–17 relegation campaign, which resulted in their drop into League Two.



After winning League One in the COVID-19-affected 2019–20 season, they were immediately promoted back to the third flight, marking their first return to the Championship in nine seasons.
Lowe joined Deepdale from Plymouth Argyle just 13 days before Ipswich named their current manager, therefore his tenure there is nearly identical to McKenna’s.

The 45-year-old has had a strong start to his career as a Championship manager after back-to-back mid-table finishes of 13th and 12th, with the Lilywhites currently sitting one spot closer to the play-offs.

There are just four managers who have remained in their current positions for more than a year: David Wagner of Norwich City, Carlos Corberán of West Brom, Liam Rosenior of Hull, and Michael Carrick of Middlesbrough have all recently reached this milestone.

However, five managers have only been in charge of their present squad for a short period of time. Ian Foster took over at Plymouth Argyle in early January, following in the footsteps of Luke Williams and Tony Mowbray at Swansea City and Birmingham City of course.

Less than two weeks have passed since John Eustace was named Blackburn Rovers’ manager. Meanwhile, Huddersfield made André Breitenreiter their head coach five days ago, making Sunderland the only team in the division without a permanent manager after Michael Beale was fired earlier this week.

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