Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Michael Appleton

First Team Manager



Date of birth






Born in Salford, Greater Manchester, Michael Appleton started his playing career at Manchester United under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, signing professionally for the Red Devils in 1994. However, it was in a spell on loan with The Imps when the combative midfielder made his Football League debut, taking on Chester City in Division Three in September 1995, the first of five appearances for City in his temporary stint at LNER Stadium.

Almost a year later, Michael made his debut for his parent club, a 2-1 win in the League Cup against Swindon Town, before following that up in the next round against Leicester City.

However, his future would then lie away from Manchester United, taking in a loan spell at Grimsby before moving permanently to Preston North End. Michael would feature over 100 times for North End which earned him a move to West Bromwich Albion. His playing career was cut short through injury and it led to an immediate move into coaching.

Michael cut his coaching teeth with West Bromwich Albion’s academy before stepping into management roles at Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers. A move to Oxford United in 2014 followed, where he had his most successful management period to date winning automatic promotion to the third tier with The U’s. They were also twice runners up in the EFL Trophy in a three-year spell at the Kassam Stadium which led to a move to former Premier League champions Leicester City as assistant manager.

Following the departure of Craig Shakespeare, Appleton stepped into the breach as caretaker for two games, winning both. Before he left the club following a restructure behind the scenes by incoming manager, Claude Puel.

Michael’s career then brought a return to The Hawthorns in the summer of 2019, as under 23 Manager at West Brom, a role which he held until moving to LNER Stadium as First Team Manager in late September 2019.

The Imps finished 16th in the 2019/20 Sky Bet League One standings based on points-per-game following the curtailment of the season due to Covid-19.

In Appleton’s first full season in charge at LNER stadium, he guided City to the League One Play-offs Final which unfortunately ended in a 2-1 defeat to Blackpool.