Steve Bruce linked with shock retirement hint

Former Newcastle United and Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been linked with a sensational return to management.

The 62-year-old is the early favourite to be appointed manager of League Two side Gillingham following the sacking of Neil Harris. Gillingham currently sit in the automatic promotion places in League Two but sacked Harris after a run of three games without a win.

Harris was appointed as Gillingham manager in January 2022 and suffered relegation from League One in his first half season at the club. Last season he led the Gills to a 17th place finish in League Two.

Bruce has been out of work since being sacked by West Bromwich Albion last October after a poor start to the Championship season. The 62-year-old hinted at retirement after leaving his role as Newcastle manager in 2021 before joining West Brom shortly after, he once again hinted that his role at West Brom would be his last.

Bruce’s links to a role at a League Two club would mark a surprise return to management after years in the top two divisions of English football. The former Manchester United defender started his managerial career with Sheffield United before going on to manage Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic, Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Sunderland, Hull City, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle and most recently West Brom.

Bruce won 27 of his 98 games in charge of Newcastle, leading the club to 13th and 12th place finishes in his two full seasons in charge before leaving the club by mutual consent following the October 2021 takeover with The Magpies winless after their opening eight matches.

Gillingham have had Keith Millen in charge on an interim basis to oversee the 2-1 win over MK Dons and 5-1 Papa John’s Trophy defeat to Portsmouth. But the former Carlisle United boss has distanced himself from taking the role permanently.

Owner and chairman Brad Galinson said he will be patient in selecting a new manager.

“I am not rushing,” said Galinson. “This is an important long-term decision, but we are confident Keith will keep us on track whilst I make the decision on who is the right person to take us forward.”

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