By Pete O'Rourke

26th Feb, 2020 | 9:09am

Exclusive: Brighton coach in contention for Blackpool job after big development

Brighton Under-23s boss Simon Rusk has emerged as a leading contender for the vacant manager’s job at Blackpool, Football Insider understands.

The League One club are searching for a new manager following the sacking of Simon Grayson earlier this month.

A Blackpool source has told Football Insider that the club have turned their attentions to highly-rated coach Rusk after having an approach for Oxford United boss Karl Robinson turned down.

The 38-year-old has been coaching Brighton’s Under-23s since 2015 and he has also worked with the first team at the Amex Stadium.

Rusk is highly regarded within coaching circles and is credited with helping develop young players like Solly March, Aaron Connolly, Ben White and Steven Alzate.

Rusk has recently been linked with the vacant manager’s job at League Two Cambridge, but decided to stay at Brighton.

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However, Blackpool are ready to make a move to lure Rusk away from Brighton and offer him the opportunity to make the step-up to first-team management.

The third tier outfit are in the market for a new manager after dismissing Grayson following a wretched run of one win from 12 matches.

The 50-year-old returned to Bloomfield Road in July 2019, having previously led the Tangerines to promotion into the Championship in 2007.

Blackpool were in strong contention for promotion earlier in the campaign but have slipped to 14th in the division, 14 points behind sixth-placed Peterborough United.

In other Brighton news, it can be REVEALED that the club are plotting a move to sign a Ligue 1 hotshot striker.