John Ward linked with director of football role at Plymouth Argyle
JOHN WARD is a leading contender to be appointed as Plymouth Argyle's new director of football, Herald Sport understands.
The 61-year-old was the manager of League One outfit Colchester United until he was dismissed in September.
Ward moved to Colchester in September 2009 as the assistant boss to Aidy Boothroyd.
After Boothroyd quit to take over at Coventry City in May 2010, he was appointed as the U's manager shortly afterwards.
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Colchester failed to win any of their first eight games this season, leading to Ward's sacking.
Ward had previously been the manager of six other clubs, including Bristol City and Bristol Rovers.
The search for Argyle's new director of football is being led by Colin Sexstone.
He was Bristol City's chief executive and later chairman for 11 years until ending his ties with the Championship club in May.
Sexstone was recently appointed to the Pilgrims' board of directors.
Ward's profile on the League Managers' Association website states he is 'widely regarded as an innovative thinker'.
It adds: 'He became a student of the game as a player. His career as a striker took in four clubs, including Watford, Grimsby and Lincoln, for whom he scored over 100 goals in nine years'.
Argyle crashed out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last night when they lost 3-1 on penalties to Oxford United at Home Park.
The southern section quarter-final had ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Argyle are seeking a director of football to work with manager Carl Fletcher and provide support to him.
Initially, the appointment will be until the end of the season.
After his playing career was over, Ward was the assistant to Graham Taylor at Watford and Aston Villa. Ward remained at Villa after Taylor became England boss in 1990.
He started his own managerial career the following year, before moving to Bristol Rovers and Bristol City.
Ward led City to promotion to what is now called the Championship in 1998.
There then followed a spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he was the number two to Colin Lee and Dave Jones, with a spell as caretaker boss in between.
He was appointed as Cheltenham Town manager in November 2003 and they were promoted to League One in 2006.
Ward took over at Carlisle United in 2007 but his stay with the Brunton Park club lasted only 13 months.
Meanwhile, Fletcher was frustrated by Argyle's exit from the JPT despite taking a 20th minute lead with a goal from Alex MacDonald.
Oxford had drawn level in the 66th minute with a header from James Constable.
Fletcher said: "We probably didn't play as well as we have done over the last few weeks but in the second half we had some good periods and some good chances.
"We should have seen the game out really but we didn't. It was a poor goal from our point of view. Then you go to penalties and it's a lottery.
"We worked hard at keeping them (Oxford) at bay and restricted them to minimal chances. They had a bit of possession but it was fine, we kept our shape.
"We probably didn't keep the ball as well as we could have, but once the rain started coming down it was very difficult."