Doncaster Rovers: What Grant McCann’s assistant Cliff Byrne said about a future role in management

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To many, he is known as Grant McCann’s right-hand man. But could Cliff Byrne step out of the shadows and go it alone in time?

Byrne assisted McCann in his first spell in charge of Rovers and followed him to Hull City and then Peterborough.

As a player, he was a leader and the most successful captain in Scunthorpe United’s history, helping them to three promotions during his nine-year stay.

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Byrne began coaching at Oldham, while he was still playing, before getting his break on the grass with Sunderland.

Doncaster Rovers assistant manager Cliff Byrne.Doncaster Rovers assistant manager Cliff Byrne.
Doncaster Rovers assistant manager Cliff Byrne.

He worked in the Black Cats’ development set-up for three years before stepping up to first-team level five years ago.

It’s a solid grounding, but 41-year-old Byrne insists he’s not done yet.

"That could eventually come in time,” he says of the desire to go it alone.

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"When a made a decision to go into coaching – I started my badges when I was still playing because I wanted to be ready – I went into the academy because I wanted to keep learning.

"That’s sort of the space I’m in at the moment. I’m still enjoying the role and looking forward to coming in.

"Will there be a time when that naturally progresses to a higher position? Possibly.

"Would it be one I would like? Definitely.

"We have plenty of work to do before that arises.”

Byrne has five years’ worth of experience as an assistant boss and counting – a great deal more than plenty of managers in their first jobs, including McCann’s two predecessors.

But for now, it’s on with the job in hand: militantly orchestrating a promotion push as McCann’s self-styled “footsoldier”.