Derek Adams has just guided Morecambe into England’s League One – but he fancies another shot in the Ross County hot-seat one day.
The 45-year-old, who has been in charge of the Dingwall club twice, including taking them into the Premiership in stunning style in 2012, is one of British football’s rising management stars.
His CV stacks up well, having guided the Shrimps into League One via Monday’s play-off final at Wembley, seeing off old foes Newport County 1-0 after extra-time.
On Friday, just 24 hours after quitting Morecambe, he was confirmed as the new manager of Bradford City, who finished 15th in League Two last term. They have designs in getting up a level quickly and have recruited Adams for that purpose.
Adams, who also guided Plymouth into League One just four years ago, has followed events in Dingwall closely, with Malky Mackay replacing John Hughes after the ex-ICT boss kept County in the top-flight.
Dingwall hot-seat return in future?
Adams, speaking just before his Morecambe exit, said: “I’m very good friends with (County chief executive) Steven Ferguson. We speak all the time.
“He was assistant to me at Ross County, first-team coach and head of academy while I was there, as well as having been team-mates.
“I always watch out to see how Ross County are doing. I was delighted they were able to stay in the Premiership. It’s a club that remains close to my heart.
“One day, I would like to go back and manage the football club again – whenever that may be.”
Without expanding on that intriguing notion, he feels the changes made by chairman Roy MacGregor last week shouldn’t come as a surprise.
He added: “Ross County have shown, over the years, they are prepared to make changes, to change direction.
“There are very few managers who have stayed a good period of time – myself, Neale Cooper and Bobby Wilson.
“There’s not a right way or a wrong way.
“You only have to see what Chelsea did. They made a change in Frank Lampard moving on and they’re now the Champions League winners under Thomas Tuchel.
Legends will be ‘sorely missed’
“In management, you just don’t know. The chairman (at Ross County) has made his decision.
“John Hughes was brought in to keep the club up and he’s succeeded in doing that and the chairman has opted to move in a different way.”
All-time record scorer and appearance holder Michael Gardyne and skipper Iain Vigurs were both freed by the club just after Mackay was confirmed as the new boss.
They were two of 10 players not handed new deals at the Dingwall club.
Adams can see both sides of that decision.
He stressed: “Michael and Iain, who I signed, were terrific servants for Ross County. It was fitting for these two players to score the two goals to keep County in the Premiership. They will be sorely missed by so many people at the club, but time doesn’t stand still.
“Clubs have to make decisions and managers have to make decisions and you have to move on.”
Hammering at Hamilton sparked surge into SPL
Adams guided the Staggies into the top-flight almost a decade ago, going up and into the then SPL on the crest of a wave, storming to a record 40-match unbeaten run.
He beams with pride at what that history-making group achieved.
He said: “We went away to Hamilton on the second day of that season and lost 5-1. That was a turning point and we regrouped and kept on going. We went 34 games in the Championship and six in the Premiership unbeaten.
“It was a fantastic run. The same as what I have had at Morecambe and Plymouth. That is tremendous team spirit, players of different qualities who all group together and achieve.
“It was a team that never knew when it was beaten.”
Big city clubs to provide stern tests in exciting Premiership
County, under Mackay, will be in one of the toughest Premierships for some time, with Dundee replacing Kilmarnock and Hearts coming up in place of Hamilton.
Adams feels his old club will once more have to defy the odds.
He added: “Ross County would be seen as one of the teams that are favourites to go down. Rangers and Celtic, Hibs against Hearts and Aberdeen against Dundee United are three great sets of derbies.
“Everyone wants the bigger teams in the division and they’re certainly getting that next season.”