Two More Receive The Big Call

‘Appointments Season’ Brings Further Excitement

This has been a good few days for former Wolves players climbing further up the coaching ladder.

Following Darren Bazeley’s appointment as New Zealand’s head coach, two men he preceded at Molineux by a few years have advanced their own careers in the dug-out.

Neill Collins (right), the Scottish-born defender who served loyally here during the Mick McCarthy era, has returned from leading Tampa Bay Rowdies to accept the manager’s post at Barnsley.

And one of his promotion-winning colleagues from almost a decade and a half ago, Kevin Foley, has made a dream return to Luton to join their Premier League adventure.

Collins spent four years in Florida and oversaw his final match there at the weekend before starting work at Oakwell on a two-year contract.

The 39-year-old played 96 games for Wolves from 2006 to 2009, the first few on loan, and has brought former Notts County striker Jon Stead back from America to work with him again.

Collins and Foley were team-mates together in these parts for two seasons, the right-back remaining in the West Midlands until 2015 and, by coincidence, being part of the ex-Scottish under-21’s international Tampa Bay backroom team for a while.

But it is through another former Wolves defender whose star is rising fast, Rob Edwards, that Foley has made his latest move.

The two worked together for a few months during Forest Green’s 2021-22 League Two title-winning campaign and, although there was no reunion at Watford at the start of last season, the friendship is strong enough for the association to have been revived now.

“I first met Kev when he left here and took my place in Wolves’ team,” Edwards is quoted as saying on Luton’s official website. “He was better than me – and I’ve not forgiven him!

“He was brilliant there and we’ve kept in touch since. He’s a really hard worker and everyone knows he came through at this football club. He’s a Luton boy, loves the club, so it’s brilliant to be able to bring him home.”

Foley has been recruited as a transitional coach, smoothing the pathway for young players between the academy and first team.

Now 38, he made his Hatters debut 20 years ago and played 39 times in the side who took the League One title to Kenilworth Road under Mike Newell in 2004-05.

He said of his return to the Championship play-off winners: “I’m delighted to be back. It was great to see Rob at work at Forest Green and amazing to see what he has done since then.

Kevin Foley…..back to where it all started for him as an eight-year-old.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him again and, having such a history with Luton, growing up through the system, it’s a bit of a dream to come and work here now as a coach, and try and help the next generation through.”

Foley has worked in recent months in the National League North with two more ex-Wolves men, Roger Johnson and Stephen Ward, helping Brackley to a play-off final that they lost to Kidderminster. Johnson left the manager’s position there in April, reportedly by mutual consent.

Edwards and his staff don’t have to wait long to pit their wits against Wolves, who are due at Kenilworth Road in the second half of September, with the return at the end of April. There is also a pre-season Molineux meeting of the two clubs.